The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

William Rothenstein Letter to James Bolivar Manson 30 June 1911

William Rothenstein 'Letter to James Bolivar Manson' 30 June 1911
William Rothenstein 1872–1945
Letter to James Bolivar Manson 30 June 1911
Tate Archive TGA 806/1/776
© Estate of William Rothenstein / The Bridgeman Art Library
William Rothenstein became a close friend of Walter Sickert after they met in Paris in 1889. Through this connection he became a founder member of the Fitzroy Street Group in 1907, but by 1910 he was no longer listed as a member and was not involved with the Camden Town Group. However, he had been a co-founder of the Carfax Gallery when it opened in 1898 and had introduced Sickert to the gallery, which went on to host all three Camden Town Group exhibitions. When the London Group was formed Rothenstein stood for election twice – on 6 December 1913 and 3 January 1914 – but both times he was unsuccessful (TGA 806/10/6 and TGA 806/10/6). On the second occasion, as Wendy Baron notes, ‘William Rothenstein secured the impressive total of minus ten votes, only surpassed by two complete outsiders’.
In this letter Rothenstein mentions receiving a book of poetry by Hugh Owen Meredith (1874–1964), most probably his Week-day Poems, which was published in 1911. Rothenstein also refers to some ethnographic books that he has lent to Manson for an article in the Studio. He was fascinated by other cultures and in 1910 had co-founded the India Society with Ernest Havell.
Wendy Baron, Perfect Moderns: A History of the Camden Town Group, Aldershot and Vermont 2000, p.66.
Mary Lago, ‘Rothenstein, Sir William (1872–1945)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004, online edn, May 2008,, accessed 3 August 2011.

Helena Bonett
August 2011


Telephone: 4075
p.o. Hampstead
[Handwritten:] June 30 – 11
My dear Manson – I was very glad to see your work at the very interesting Campden Town group. Do come & see me some afternoon. I hope all goes well with you. Please remember me very kindly to your wife. Always sincerely yours
W. Rothenstein
I had a very interesting book of poems sent me by Hugh Meredith, who is I think a friend of yours. I thought them very remarkable: please tell him how much I enjoyed them. By the bye, have you by any chance any of my ethnographs – I believe I lent you one or two books when you were writing the studio article, but I expect you returned them. A French set has gone astray somewhere & I can’t remember what I did with it.

How to cite

William Rothenstein, Letter to James Bolivar Manson, 30 June 1911, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 22 May 2024.