The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

Eric Gill Letter to James Bolivar Manson 3 February 1914

Eric Gill 'Letter to James Bolivar Manson' 3 February 1914
Eric Gill 1882–1940
Letter to James Bolivar Manson 3 February 1914
Tate Archive TGA 806/10/6
The sculptor Eric Gill was elected to the London Group on 3 January 1914 (TGA 806/10/6). It is not known who had initially proposed him for membership but in this letter he declines the offer saying that he has ‘general disagreement with those whose names you kindly sent me as being members’ and also has ‘no desire to exhibit my work’, particularly as part of a society. Gill had previously been a close friend and collaborator of the sculptor Jacob Epstein, a member of the London Group, but by this time the two had fallen out.

Helena Bonett
August 2011

Transcript

[Letterhead:]
London Address: 
1, Hare Court
Temple, E.C.
Telephone: 2194 CITY
DITCHLING
SUSSEX
Station: HASSOCKS
[Handwritten with some printed words:]
Feb. 3 1914
To Dear Manson: 
I ought to have replied to your letter before, but I have been very much rushed owing to my recent exhibition & work in hand. I ought to have replied because my decision was made very soon after I received your letter of the 8th. of January. Now I must wait no longer and must tell you that I regret I do not see my way to joining the London Group. In fact I have decided not to do so.
I have very many reasons in making this decision but I beg you to believe that the least of them is my general disagreement with those whose names you kindly sent me as being members.
I dislike exhibitions in general & consequently do not love exhibition societies.
I have no desire to exhibit my work. I want work to do & not to show. So far I have been favoured & have not been unemployed. And if from time to time uncommissioned or unsold work accumulates on my hands I hope to be able to show it by itself on my own.
God be thanked, I am too busy to bother about exhibitions by which affairs I do not believe the welfare either of art or artists is advanced.
Please therefore convey my thanks to the Group for the honour it paid me & my regrets & apologies for my refusal to accept the same.
 Yours sincerely
  Eric Gill.

How to cite

Eric Gill, Letter to James Bolivar Manson, 3 February 1914, 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/eric-gill-letter-to-james-bolivar-manson-r1104641, accessed 21 May 2019.