The entry on Virginia Woolf in the old Dictionary of National Biography, a piece by David Cecil (who married a daughter of the Bloomsbury Group), speaks of 'the shimmering felicities of her style' and concludes that in her work 'the English aesthetic movement brought forth its most exquisite flower'. In such light, where the language of biography trespasses upon eulogy and teeters floridly towards obituarese, we might recall how Woolf's father, Leslie Stephen, the DNB's founding editor, pursued a policy of 'No flowers by request' when briefing his contributors. Stephen died in 1904. The incumbents at the dictionary in Cecil's day were obviously more relaxed about floral arrangements. They let him get away with not just a flower (a Wildean lily?) but a whole bouquet. For what after all is or was the English aesthetic movement? To put the question is not to suggest that there are no lines of relation between the diverse stock of, say, John Ruskin, Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, and that of a no less diverse Bloomsbury Group. Rather it is to ask, what is the nature of that relation? If it is at all important, how important is it in the cultural formation of Bloomsbury?