The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

Edward Storer, ‘Art’

Commentator, 11 November 1912.

 The Camden Town Group are holding their winter exhibition at the Carfax Gallery. This association of young men contains some of the most talented artists of the day, who are on the way to making a name for themselves. In addition, dignity and importance and the traditional attitude are secured to the group by the presence in it of celebrities as celebrated as Mr. Augustus John and Mr. Walter Sickert. The group has no dominating theory to exploit, and manifests its energies in as varying fashions as are exemplified by the Piccassoism [sic] of Mr. Wyndham Lewis and the jewelled impressionism of Mr. Lucien Pissaro [sic]. Mr. Wyndham Lewis’s “Danse” is a frank imitation of the cubist convention, with a touch of Futuristic ferocity about the strenuousness of its lines. Although the artist cannot very well be said to have added anything of his own to the convention which he uses, his obviously ardent belief in the mode in which he works betokens sincerity, and is evidence that when he does “find himself,” the discovery will be gratifying. Determined disciples make resolute masters. The trimmers, being convenient people who make life easy for the art critic, are popular as a rule, for the ready-made picture can be matched with a ready-made formula. Artists like Mr. Wyndham Lewis are apt to arouse what are called the worst passions of the critics, which, however, are tolerably mild except in the case of two or three veterans of controversy it would be pleasant but unwise to mention, in whom still burns that charming anachronism, the volcanic temperament.
 Mr. S. F. Gore, the President of the group which takes for its title a place associated with some of the most famous murders of modern times, as well as with art, gives us four vigorous paintings in simple and unaggravated tones. “The Broken Fence” is, perhaps, the best of the four, but “Euston from the Nursery” is done in a mood of delicacy and restraint that one must admire. Mr. H. Gilman’s contributions owe their inspiration to Swedish scenes, and the artist has caught the wistful Peer Gyntish flavour of the Norse paysages with considerable skill. Mr. N. [sic] C. Drummond’s “St. James’s Park” arrests attention, and Mr. R. P. Bevan’s “Quiet with All Road Nuisances” is a capital study of a horse and a horsey crowd of men. Mr. W. Bayes’ three pictures are the best that the group exhibits. There is an ease about this artist’s work that comes of a strength sure of itself which is lacking in that of many of the other exhibitors. “Le Petit Casino” is charming. It is full of grace and cleverly poised light and shade. “Shade” and “Port” are intriguing, subtle little paintings.
 Among the other members of the society, J. Doman Turner and J. B. Manson stand for new formulas, whose working out is, I presume, part of the group’s purpose.
 A four-man exhibition occupies the Baillie Gallery. Mr. Leslie Brooke shows illustrations to the following fairy-tale books: – “Johnny Crow’s Garden,” “Johnny Crow’s Party,” “The Tartar and the Crow,” and two others. The pictures are quaint and sometimes amusing, but are not very original. Miss M. V. Wheelhouse also has illustration work to exhibit. The Gaskells and Louisa Alcott, Charlotte Brontë and E. V. Lucas claim the attention of her pencil and brush, and she may be said to be very successful in pictorially reproducing the quaint old-fashioned sentimental atmosphere of books like “Sylvia’s Lovers” and “Cranford.” Mr. Hawkes’ caricatures are not marked by any particular distinction. They are aggravated likenesses with the conventional points of caricature accentuated. One or two hit the mark with some surety, such as “Sir Edward Carson” and “The Duke of Northumberland,” but none are very lively. In the end room, Mr. F. L. Griggs has a catalogue of drawings of English landscape and architecture that should interest architects.
Edward Storer.

How to cite

Edward Storer, ‘Art’, in Commentator, 11 November 1912, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 20 June 2024.