Augustus JohnLetter to James Bolivar Manson14 November 1913
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Augustus John was a member of the Camden Town Group and so automatically became a member of the London Group when it was formed in October 1913. However, John had always been a tangential figure to the Camden Town Group, only exhibiting at the first exhibition in June 1911. This letter reveals that he was completely unaware of the formation of the ‘new society’ and did not suppose himself to be a member.
John was a famous and successful artist at the time, so had less need to promote his work through exhibiting societies. He was good friends with James Dickson Innes – the two often painted together in Wales – who was also a member of the Camden Town Group. However, Innes also did not join the new society. His consumption had led him to move to the warmer climate of Tangier, Morocco, but he died in August 1914. John later became a member of the London Group in 1940.
Helena Bonett August 2011
[Handwritten:] 181 King’s Rd. S.W
Nov. 14 1913
You are mistaken in supposing me to be a member of this new society of which you are secretary. I know nothing whatever about it beyond the communications which you have addressed to me. I should tell you that Innes’ address [end of p.1] is the English Post office Tangiers.
Augustus John, Letter to James Bolivar Manson, 14 November 1913, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/augustus-john-letter-to-james-bolivar-manson-r1104555, accessed 23 January 2022.