The Evocative Original Mrs. Dalloway Cover Art

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Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf’s artist sister, painted many of Woolf’s book covers, including Mrs. Dalloway. The simple but not simplistic cover uses a white background and, of course, only black and yellow otherwise to entice a would-be reader. Works beautifully for me.

The dust jacket reveals a window with, outside it, a balcony. The balcony rail also resembles a crown, hinting to the main character, Clarissa Dalloway’s, privileged life. Curtains frame the window, bringing to mind a theater balcony box.

Flowers and possibly a fan are on the windowsill. (I’m thinking dear sister read the novel first? Good job!) They appear to be tulips — my favorite flower.

From the uneven script to the minimalistic, purposefully imperfect shapes that make up the cover, I find Bell’s artwork charming. It’s a shame any other cover was ever used, since clearly Woolf would have been intimately involved with the creation of this one. What are your thoughts on it?

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