Ratcliffe began his career as a commercial designer and amateur artist, living in Letchworth in Hertfordshire. Here he met Harold Gilman, who had moved there in 1908, and who encouraged him to return to . Ratcliffe studied at the Slade School briefly in 1910. For a short period, around 1912-14, his and interiors have the intense colouring and tight design typical of the .
Clarence Gardens, which no longer exists, was a square in the Camden Town area frequently painted by Bevan and Sickert. Ratcliffe probably chose it for these associations, and perhaps worked alongside one of the other artists.
Gallery label, August 2004