The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

Minutes of a Camden Town Group Meeting 2 December 1911

James Bolivar Manson was secretary of the Camden Town Group and so responsible for the group’s records. Here he has taken minutes at a meeting that took place at the shared studio at 19 Fitzroy Street at the time of the group’s second exhibition in December 1911. The first three pages are the hurried minutes taken at the meeting and the remaining five are more explanatory notes written out afterwards. The minutes show that most members were in favour of increasing the size of the group but that in order to do this they needed a larger gallery in which to exhibit. It was not until October 1913 that the society was expanded, creating the larger and more diverse London Group (TGA 806/10/6).
In discussing voting procedures for new members Walter Sickert proposed that one black ball should exclude election. The blackballing system was common in gentlemen’s clubs and other societies at the time.
Wendy Baron, Perfect Moderns: A History of the Camden Town Group, Aldershot and Vermont 2000, pp.48–9.

Helena Bonett
August 2011


[Handwritten in red ink:] 2/12/1911 at 19 Fitzroy St Camden Town Group
[In pencil:]
W Sickert. One black ball to exclude. Feels no [?room] for enlargement
Sickert to keep closed society
Gilman: like to elect all [?men] where work is interesting to the group
Lamb }
Ginner } in favour of increasing
Lewis }
Turner better to have small gallery & [...] to [?took of] members [?small] as possible.
Drummond. Increase slowly
Manson: Keep small
Gore. Increase slowly
Bayes [?Disadvantage] of keeping permanently the same. [?Enlargement]: meaning the members reducing no. of pictures[.] difficulties of larger society[.] feels no room for enlargement
Ratcliffe gradual growth
Bevan. Enlarging it.
Pissarro. Proposed rule [?wider] idea of enlargement. No rule for enlargement [end of p.1]
Sickert second
Pissarro less [?good ...]
Ginner majority of 2/3
Manson No. of member limited to 20 for the present
Sickert Second
Gilman While at Carfax no more members
Pissarro Second
8 for
3 against
Gilman recommend find lrg gallery as soon as possible
Lamb second
8 for. Carried
no objections to holding 2 exhibit. in year
Bayes proposed sub -5/- each member payable within 14 days of receiving notice
[end of p.2]
Sickert. that Gore alone has power to make arrangement for another gallery.
Gore proposed hanging com. of 2
that members should serve in rotation – alphabetically
Seconded by Sickert.
[end of p.3]
[Manuscript of the above meeting written out in full in black ink:]
 At the meeting of the Camden Town Group, at 19, Fitzroy St, on Dec 2nd 1911, Mr Gilman moved that while the Group continues to exhibit at the Carfax Gallery no more members should be elected. The motion was seconded by Mr Pissarro & carried by 8 votes to 3.
 Mr Gilman then proposed that arrangements should be made for obtaining the use of a larger gallery as soon as possible. Mr Lamb seconded & the motion was carried unanimously.
 Mr Sickert wished it to be clearly understood that this proposition in no way interfered with the arrangements with Messrs Carfax to whom the Group was indebted & that while wishing to make arrangements for a large place of exhibition it wished in so-doing to remain in association with the Carfax Gallery. which the meeting heartily endorsed.
Mr Bayes moved that there should be a subscription of 5/- from each member on the occasion of each exhibition. Subs to be payable within 14 days of receiving notice of the exh. Mr Ginner seconded[.] Carried unanimously.
 Previous to the above business there had been some discussion particularly regarding regulations for the election of members, certain proposals for rules of election being brought forward which were however made abortive by the carrying of Mr Gilman’s 1st motion above that for the present no new members be elected to the Group.
Mr Sickert opened the proceedings by [?proposing] that one black ball should exclude candidates from membership. This was not seconded.
Mr Sickert then invited members to as to whether the Group should be enlarged or kept a closed group.
[end of p.4]
He himself being in favour of a closed society.
Mr Gilman said he would like to elect all [?mem] whose [?work] was interesting to the Group.
Messrs Lamb, Ginner & Lewis were in favour of increasing the number of members.
Mr Doman Turner was of the opinion that it would be better to have a small gallery & a small society with members showing their best work at its exhibitions
Mr Drummond was of the opinion that the Society should increase slowly
The Secretary preferred a small society.
The President thought the Society ought to increase gradually.
Mr Bayes indicated the disadvantage to the Group of its remaining permanently the same size. Under present conditions an increase of members meant decreasing the no. of pictures exhibited of each member. He pointed out some of the difficulties particularly financial difficulties connected with large society. On the whole he felt there was no room for enlargement.
 Mr Ratcliffe was in favour of gradual growth.
 Mr Bevan " " “of enlarging the society.
 Mr Pissarro " " " " " " "
provided that care was taken that the work of proposed members was strictly in accordance with the aims of the Group.
With regard to the election of members
Mr Pissarro then moved that each candidate for election to the Group be proposed by one member & seconded by another. 4 examples of the candidates work be shown for at least two weeks (previous to the election) at 19 Fitzroy St. The election to take place [end of p.5] by ballot & by post.
 Any candidate must have the votes of ½ the number of members plus one to secure election.
Mr Sickert pointed out that in his opinion the use of 19 Fitzroy St for such a purpose was improper. He suggested the deletion of clause 2 in Mr Pissarro’s motion.
Mr Pissarro agreed to this & Mr Sickert then seconded the amended motion
Mr Ginner moved an amendment to the effect that votes 2/3 of the number of members be necessary to secure a candidate’s election.
The Sec. moved that the number of members be limited to 20 for the present
Mr Sickert seconded the motion.
These motions were not put to the meeting owing to Mr Gilman then proposing that there be no increase of membership under the present conditions of exhibiting at the Carfax Gallery. This was carried, 8 for & 3 against.
There was some discussion as to the number of exhibitions to hold by the Group every year
Although no definite arrangement was made
It transpired that there were no objections to holding 2 exhibitions a year.
Mr Sickert suggested that the President alone should have power to make arrangements with regard to galleries.
[end of p.6]
Proposed by Pissarro
Seconded by Sickert
1. That each candidate for election to the Group be proposed by one member of the group & seconded by another.
Four examples of the candidate’s work to be shown for at least two weeks (previous to the election) at 19 Fitzroy St. The election to take place by ballot & by post.
Any candidate must have the votes of ½ the full number of members plus one, to secure election.
2. That women artists be eligible of election to the group.
3. That at each exhibition 4 members in turn shall each have the right to invite one non-member (man or woman) to send two pictures.
4. That if 2/3 of the members of the group consider that the work of any member is not in harmony with the aims of the society, they shall call upon him to retire. The member in question to take no part in the voting on that occasion.
[end of p.7]
The President moved that the hanging committee consist of 2 members to serve in rotation & selected alphabetically exempting those members who have already served.
Mr Sickert seconded. Carried unanimously.
Rules as they now stand.
1. That the pictures of members sent for exhibition shall be hung in groups
2. That there shall be no women members of the Group.
3. That there shall be no increase of no. of members [?while] the Group under present conditions
4. That from each member shall pay a subscription of 5/- on the occasion of each exhibition. Subscriptions to be paid within 14 days of receiving notice of the exhibition.
5. That there shall be a Hanging Committee to consist of 2 members. Such members to be selected alphabetically & to serve in rotation
Also The Proposal that the President of the Group should make arrangements for securing the use of a larger gallery was carried unanimously.
   J.B. Manson (Hon. Sec.)
    98 Hampstead Way

How to cite

Minutes of a Camden Town Group Meeting, 2 December 1911, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 30 May 2024.