The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

James Bolivar Manson Letter to Esther Pissarro 19 July 1911

James Bolivar Manson and Lucien Pissarro met in 1910 when Manson was preparing an article about the impressionist painter. The two became close friends and allies over the coming years. In this letter to Lucien’s wife, Esther, Manson responds to an invitation to dinner. He also mentions it being the ‘finish of the season’ for the Saturday afternoon ‘At Homes’ at 19 Fitzroy Street; most of the artists would spend the summer months on painting trips in the countryside or abroad.
The first Camden Town Group exhibition took place in June 1911 at the Carfax Gallery; owing to its small size the group soon began discussing finding larger premises. In this letter Manson mentions that Arthur Clifton, then director of the gallery, had suggested using the Alpine Club on Savile Row as a venue, but this did not come to fruition.

Helena Bonett
August 2011


34, Hampstead Way,
Golder’s Green, N.W.
[Handwritten:] 19. July 1911
Dear Mrs Pissarro,
 Many thanks for your letter. We shall be delighted to come next Sunday. The only thing is, we may have a friend staying with us for the week-end.
In that case may we bring him too.
He is a very nice [end of p.1] man, – a Socialist Professor of Languages at Dublin University.
Fitzroy St is closed. Last Saturday saw the finish of the season.
The only news concerns the next exhibition of The Camden Town Group.
Clifton has offered to let us have another exhibition at the Carfax in January or else he will take [end of p.2] The Alpine Club for us. In the latter case we should have to guarantee a certain sum of money, which would be a nuisance; although it would enable us to show twenty pictures each – if we wanted to.
I have got my “Pissarro” framed & on the dining-room wall. I simply love it. In its way, it is a perfect thing, so delicately & finely expressed & with such certainty & simplicity. [end of p.3]
If possible, we like it more every time we see it.
My wife sends her love. We shall look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
  With kindest regards.
    [?Yrs sincerely]
     J.B. Manson

How to cite

James Bolivar Manson, Letter to Esther Pissarro, 19 July 1911, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 13 April 2024.