Dancing in the Street
is executed in graphite, ink and watercolour on off-white wove paper. The paper is medium weight and of good quality. The sheet has three cut edges but the top edge is torn, suggesting that it is a page taken from a sketchbook. The artists’ colourmen Percy Young and John Bryce Smith are both known to have supplied Gore with sketchbooks.1
The drawing covers the extent of the sheet. It is executed in soft pencil, iron gall ink and thin watercolour washes. An opaque white has been applied thinly in places to provide highlights. The surface of the paper has been scratched away at the dancer’s feet and in the skirt of the woman on the left, to readjust the position of the foot and the line of the skirt. The iron gall ink has bled into the watercolour when it was applied and has begun to ‘burn’ through the paper where lines have been reinstated. The outlines of the figures are now clearly visible on the reverse of the sheet.
The palette is limited and dominated by dark brown monochrome washes. Colour is used sparingly with blue and red used in the background to reinforce perspective and in the foreground as unifying highlights, creating a convincing sense of space. This is reinforced by the variation in the strength of the line in relation to the spatial position of the form. This technique was used by Gore to enhance the sense of light and space in his drawings: ‘use lighter lines for things father [sic] off and stronger for those near to, and the more closely you observe these kinds of relation the more likely you are to get the look of sunshine etc into your drawings’.2
How to cite
Tomoko Kawamura and Sarah Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', June 2005, in Robert Upstone, ‘Dancing in the Street c.1904 by Spencer Gore’, catalogue entry, May 2009, 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/spencer-gore-dancing-in-the-street-r1136453, accessed 23 January 2021.