Spencer Gore

Mornington Crescent


Not on display

Spencer Gore 1878–1914
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 635 × 762 mm
frame: 839 × 966 × 62 mm
Bequeathed by Lady Henry Cavendish-Bentinck 1940

Display caption

From 1909 until 1912 Gore rented a front room at 31 Mornington Crescent in Camden. During this period he painted from his window numerous views of the surrounding houses, gardens and tube station.

Mornington Crescent faced leafy gardens until the Carreras Cigarette Factory was built on the site in 1926. Its fine curve marked the northern edge of the area conceived in outline by John Nash in the early nineteenth century. This area of north-west London is today home to millionaires, but in the early twentieth century its population was mainly working-class.

Gallery label, February 2004

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Catalogue entry



This painting shows Mornington Crescent Gardens, which Gore painted many times when he was living at 31 Mornington Crescent from 1911 until his marriage in 1912 (fig.1). Here he lodged with the local vicar, the Reverend Osmond Andrew Archer, and was a few doors away from Walter Sickert who lived at number 6. The gardens were directly in front of the house, and Gore painted the view from the front windows several times, for instance From a Window at 31 Mornington Crescent 1911 (private collection).1 However, Mornington Crescent is a view from ground level within the park itself, and may perhaps have been painted in front of the subject. Gore made a number of other pictures in the gardens, including The Avenue c.1910 (private collection)2 and Mornington Crescent c.1911 (private collection).3
The bare tree suggests that Gore must have painted the Tate painting either before the spring or after the autumn of 1911. The dating of the canvas comes from when it was shown at the Carfax Gallery in 1916, and is presumably accurate as the exhibition was put together with the input of Gore’s widow.
In November 1910, Gore described his recommended way of painting to his pupil John Doman Turner:
I see I overlooked the question about oil painting. There is no reason for muddle. Colours Flake White, Rose madder, Vermillion, Chrome and Lemon Chrome, Ultramarine, Cobalt, Viridian, oxide of Chromium. If painting from drawings, square up drawing on canvas. Settle the colours that you are going to fill the various silhouettes with, mix them and fill the silhouettes with them, remembering that the colour near at hand is stronger than the colour far away. When dry add new drawing in lines a little darker than the colour of the plane on which the drawing is placed. Then repaint getting the colour nearer and so on.

Mornington Crescent


Robert Upstone
May 2009


Reproduced in Spencer Frederick Gore 1878–1914, exhibition catalogue, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London 1983 (15).
Reproduced Christie’s, London, 15 March 1985 (lot 41).
Reproduced Christie’s, London, 12 June 1987 (lot 264).
Spencer Gore, letter to John Doman Turner, 26 November 1910, private collection, no.30.
Spencer Gore, letter to John Doman Turner, July 1909, private collection, no.18.
Spencer Gore, letter to John Doman Turner, 8 September 1908, private collection, no.5.
Spencer Gore, letter to John Doman Turner, July 1909, private collection, no.18.
Frank Rutter, ‘Round the Galleries’, Sunday Times, 26 March 1911, p.18.
Walter Sickert, ‘A Perfect Modern’, New Age, 9 April 1914, in Anna Gruetzner Robins (ed.), Walter Richard Sickert: The Complete Writings on Art, Oxford 2000, p.355.
Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (eds.), The London Encyclopaedia, London 1983, p.528.
Rutter 1911, p.18.
Notebook b357, p.25, Booth Collection, Archives of British Library of Political and Economic Science, London School of Economics.
Charles Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, vol.1, London 1902, pp.33–62.
Times, 10 February 1926, p.15.
See his obituary, Times, 16 February 1918, p.9.
Lillian Browse, Sickert, London 1960, p.20.
Charles Aitken, ‘Preface’, in Catalogue of a Collection of Oil Paintings, Watercolours & Drawings formed by the Late William Evans, exhibition catalogue, Goupil Gallery, London 1918, pp.7, 8.
‘The Judge Evans Collection’, Times, 14 June 1918, p.9.

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