[Beginning of article missing] the effect of these particular colours and shadows on the spectator is lugubrious. An artist cannot escape responsibility for producing such an effect by saying that shadows and colours should appeal simply to the eye, for colour and shadow have emotional qualities. At the Carfax Gallery, Mr. Sickert’s two studies of the Camden murder owe their impressiveness entirely to this emotional suggestiveness of light and shadow; the way the light from the window falls across the woman’s body and under the bed, leaving the figure of the man in sinister obscurity, is æsthetically beautiful, but it is also most expressive. Mr. Sickert has been accused by critics of misusing his talents in painting such a subject. The objection is absurd. His treatment shows no vulgar sensationalism or love of horror, but an imaginative interest well worth sharing.
“The First Exhibition of the Camden Town Group,” where these two pictures are to be seen, is a stimulating collection of pictures. Among the most interesting are three pictures by Mr. R.P. Bevan. They are pictures of a cabman’s yard. In one a lean but violent screw is still between the shafts, and two ostlers drawn in energetic attitudes, one at its head the other throwing a horse rug over its quarters, are in attendance upon it; behind is the bright green gate of the yard. In (28) a shabby man in a long coat is watching judicially two tired crocks taking a long draught at the trough; in the third a horse is just disappearing into the stable. The drawing of these objects – the figures, the animals, and the cabs – is vigorous and full of animation; the colour is imaginary and fantastic. The horse between the shafts is a violet horse, the gate-pillars are an apricot red, everywhere there is an unreal iridescence, the shabby box-cloth coat of the yardmaster has a dove-like sheen on it; yet this fanciful colouring does not interfere with the realism of the scene; it seems even to enhance it, as though this convention of unnatural, bright colour succeeded in conveying a sense of the life of the stable-yard which was still an important part of our actual impression of such scenes.