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In his youth Sickert had acted on the stage and he often depicted London music halls and their audiences. This theatre in Camden Town, near Sickert’s home in Mornington Crescent, was destroyed by fire in 1896 and subsequently rebuilt as the ‘New Bedford’. Sickert emphasises the splendour and the towering perspective of the grand Edwardian architecture which dwarfs the audience.

By the 1860s there were over 200 small music halls in London which catered mainly for working class audiences. Sickert was one of the first artists who attempted to record their distinctive atmosphere.

September 2004