We know that when a surgeon of genius is playing in his fateful theatre the miraculous part on which depend perhaps two lives, and their infinite consequences in the geometrical progression of never-ending futurity, he is subject to, and to some extent dependent on, inspiration. But in these minutes of inspiration he can only attain one of the highest crests of the innumerable waves that rise from the level of the mass of water that constitutes the sea of past achievement in his art. The highest crest is limited by the utmost salience possible from the universal level of the waters. The great surgeon’s highest effort is strictly based on the level to which the surgical canons, known practically to every three years’ student, have been lifted at the date of the operation.
© Estate of Walter R. Sickert
How to cite
Walter Richard Sickert, ‘The Spirit of the Hive’, in The New Age, 26 May 1910, pp.84–5, 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/walter-richard-sickert-the-spirit-of-the-hive-r1104302, accessed 22 January 2021.