The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

Wyndham Lewis, ‘Frederick Spencer Gore’

BLAST, No.1, June 1914, p.150.

Born in 1879, Gore died on March 27th, 1914, of pneumonia, after an illness of three days.
Had he lived, his dogged, almost romantic industry, his passion for the delicate objects set in the London atmosphere around him, his grey conception of the artist’s life, his gentleness and fineness, would have matured into an abundant personal art, something like Corot and Gessing [sic].
His habit of telling you of things he had his eye on and intended painting three years hence, and all his system of work was with reference to minute and persistent labour, implying a good spell of life, which almost retarded accomplishment.
He projected himself into the years of work before him, and organized queerly what was to be done. He possessed physically, a busy time three years away, as much as to-day.
A boastfully confident attitude to Time’s expanse, and absence of recognition of the common need to hurry, characterized him.
Death cut all this short to the dismay of those who had known him from the start, and regarded, confidently like him, this great artist and dear friend as a permanent thing in their lives, and his work as in safe hands and sure of due fulfilment[.] His leisureliness and confidence were infectious.
His painting as it is, although incomplete, is full of illustrations of a maturer future. His latest work, with an accentuation of structural qualities, a new and suave simplicity, might, in the case of several examples I know, be placed beside that of any of the definitely gracious artists in Europe.
The welter of pale and rather sombre colour filling London back-yards, the rather distant, still and sultry well-being of a Camden Town summer, in trivial crescents with tall trees and toy trains, was one of his favourite themes.
He was a painter of the London summer, of heavy dull sunlight, of exquisite, respectable and stodgy houses, more than anybody else.
The years he spent working on scenes from the London music-halls brought to light a new world of witty illusion. I much prefer Gore’s paintings of the theatre to Dégas’ [sic]. Gore gets everything that Degas with his hard and rather paltry science apparently did not see.
He had an admirable master for his drawing in Mr. Walter Sickirt [sic], to whose advice and friendship he no doubt owed more than to anybody elses.
But he was quite independent of Mr. Sickert, or of any group of artists, and even diametrically opposed to many of his friends in his feeling towards the latest movement in painting, which from the first he gave his word for. Some of his work towards the end belonged rather to this present movement than to any other.
The memorial exhibition of his work shortly to be held should, if possible, since the Cabaret Club has closed, contain the large paintings he did for that place.
© By kind permission of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust (a registered charity)

How to cite

Wyndham Lewis, ‘Frederick Spencer Gore’, in BLAST, No.1, June 1914, p.150, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 20 June 2024.