Oil paint and graphite on paper mounted on card
305 x 605 mm
Inscribed in unknown hand ‘S’ (?) or ‘57’ bottom right; inscribed in unknown hand ‘Decoration for ‘The Cave of the Golden Calf’ by Spencer Gore | Ginner did the opposite wall, I think. ‘The Cave of the Golden | Calf’ was a night club run by Mme Strindberg (widow of | the dramatist) circa 1912. The originals may be in the U.S.A.’ in ink on label on back.
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1961
Technique and condition
How to citeRoy Perry and Sarah Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', September 2004, in Robert Upstone, ‘Study for a Mural Decoration for ‘The Cave of the Golden Calf’ 1912 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
The name of the club was intended to convey a message of primitive abandon through its reference to the Biblical story of the Israelites who, while Moses was absent, indulged in orgiastic, idolatrous celebrations before a golden calf (Exodus 32: 1–6). The brochure for the club reinforced this bacchanalian agenda:
For these reasons the prospect that the Cabaret Theatre Club will become a social centre remains for the present highly speculative; it seems on the whole more probable that its chief success will be found to lie in its dramatic activity, for it will have rare opportunities to produce works of theatrical and musical virtuosity, and has already announced a d’Annunzio tragedy and a Pergolese opera.
The club house is dubbed ‘The Cave of the Golden Calf,’ and it is certainly cavernous to the extent that it has to be entered by a sort of man-hole; within there is a small stage and mural decorations representing we should not care to say what precise stage beyond impressionism – they would easily, however, turn into appalling goblins after a little too much supper in the cave.26
How to cite
Robert Upstone, ‘Study for a Mural Decoration for ‘The Cave of the Golden Calf’ 1912 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