The Camden Town Group in Context

Minutes of the Eighth and Ninth London Group Meetings 7 and 14 March 1914

Minutes of the Eighth and Ninth London Group Meetings 7 and 14 March 1914
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Minutes of the Eighth and Ninth London Group Meetings 7 and 14 March 1914
Manuscript, by James Bolivar Manson (1879-1945)
© Estate of James Bolivar Manson
Manuscript TGA 806/10/6
These are the minutes of the eighth and ninth London Group meetings. The first group exhibition took place at William Marchant’s Goupil Gallery in March 1914, the same month as these gatherings. However, three of the most famous and well-respected painters of the group – Walter Sickert, Lucien Pissarro and Henry Lamb – had resigned before the exhibition took place, which caused consternation for Marchant, leading him ‘To suggest that 5 resignations shall liberate Marchant from his agreement’.
Pissarro had written to Manson on 20 November 1913 that ‘the wrong clique ... has gained influence’ at Fitzroy Street. Likewise, Sickert felt that the ‘cubist’ clique, led by Wyndham Lewis and Jacob Epstein, had taken control of the London Group. He wrote to Nan Hudson (TGA 9125/5, no.44) that
like the lady in bridal attire who bolts at the church door the Epstein–Lewis marriage is too much for me and I have bolted. I have resigned both Fitzroy Street and the London Group. ... First Gilman forced Epstein on me, as you know against my will. But I was in a minority. At Brighton the Epstein–Lewis–Etchells room made me sick and I publicly disengaged my responsibility. On Saturday Epstein’s so-called drawings were put up on easels and Lewis’s big Brighton picture. The Epsteins are pure pornography – of the most joyless kind soit-dit and the Lewis is pure impudence. Then I left, once for all, but never again for an hour could I be responsible or associated in any way with showing such things. I don’t believe in them, and, further, I think they render any consideration of serious painting impossible.
I hope you don’t think my conduct, to Gore & Gilman chiefly, cowardly or treacherous. You know that they have dragged me step by step in a direction I don’t like, and it was only a question of the exact date of my revolt. It is, after all, they who believed in this thing and I who suffered it to please them, weakly I admit.
Sickert rejoined the London Group in 1916.
Voting List for the Eighth London Group Meeting 7 March 1914
Fig.1
Voting List for the Eighth London Group Meeting 7 March 1914
© Estate of James Bolivar Manson
Stanley Spencer was the only artist to be elected in March (fig.1 TGA 806/10/6); he resigned shortly afterwards.
By this time the secretary, James Bolivar Manson, was also moving away from the group following the resignation of his close friend and ally, Pissarro. These are the last minutes he took before resigning too. For the minutes of the seven previous meetings, see TGA 806/10/6, TGA 806/10/6, TGA 806/10/6, TGA 806/10/6, TGA 806/10/6, and TGA 806/10/6 and TGA 806/10/6.
Wendy Baron, Perfect Moderns: A History of the Camden Town Group, Aldershot and Vermont 2000, pp.64, 67–8, 72.

Helena Bonett
August 2011

Transcript

[Typescript:]
LONDON GROUP.
Meeting 7th March 1914.
Present:–
Bayes (chair), Gilman, Bomberg, Finch, Bevan, de Karlowsk Epstein, Adeney, Brzeska, Nash, Squire, Ratcliffe, Lewis, Ginner, Wadsworth, Gore, Manson.
A letter from Marchant was read asking for some guarantee of the constitution of the London Group for the exhibition at his Gallery, in Spring 1915.
It was resolved that the President find out from Mr Marchant exactly what he wants the London Group to do in the matter.
Mr S. Spencer was elected a Member by 15 votes to 2.
Meeting 14th March 1914.
Present:–
[Handwritten:] Gore (chair), Bevan, Gilman, Bomberg, Finch, Jessie Etchells, Nevinson, Brzeska, de Karlowska, Ginner, Ratcliffe, Manson, Epstein.
Letter from Marchant.
Resignation of [?Lamb &] Pissarro.
To suggest that 5 resignations shall liberate Marchant from his agreement

How to cite

Minutes of the Eighth and Ninth London Group Meetings, 7 and 14 March 1914, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, May 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/minutes-of-the-eighth-and-ninth-london-group-meetings-r1104652, accessed 20 December 2014.