Lucien Pissarro, ‘High View, Fish Pond’ 1915
Lucien Pissarro
High View, Fish Pond 1915
Spencer Gore, ‘Richmond Park’ c.1914
Spencer Gore
Richmond Park c.1914

The Camden Town Group were painters of urban subjects, and this defined their shared sensibility. But on occasions some of them also painted the countryside. An appetite for unspoilt, remote landscapes drew Bevan, Gilman, Ginner and Gore to seek out landscapes that contradicted – even if temporarily – their engagement with modernity. Such an antidote was both an affirmation of the beauties of the country and the validity of its representation in new styles. But by its contrariness, it also acknowledged the motor of modernity.

One of the principal locations for their landscape painting was Applehayes, near Clayhidon in the Blackdown Hills in Devon. Here some of the Group were the guests of Harold Bertram Harrison (1855–1924), a farmer, amateur artist and writer. The presence of Bevan, Gore and Ginner at Applehayes seems to represent the coming of Camden Town to the country, the penetration of the natural and traditional by a group associated with modernity and the life of the city. Devon and Somerset was a region which represented for the Edwardian imagination a link to a mythologised past, embodying elements of English identity connected with land and its bountiful cultivation, alongside a sense of the wildness of the natural landscape.