Image: detail of Spencer Frederick Gore (1878-1914), The Balcony, Mornington Crescent, 1911 (Oil on canvas) © Leeds Museums and Galleries  (Leeds Art Gallery), U.K. Bridgeman

*This exhibition is now closed*

This exhibition explored the work of the Camden Town Group and was drawn from the collection of Leeds Art Gallery, the largest public collection of Camden Town Group works outside Tate in London. The group, influenced by Post-Impressionism, painted in a dynamic and painterly way and explored the changing realities and conditions of Edwardian urban life. The group depicted social and cultural life in Britain, truthfully recording the surroundings and pursuits of the lower middle and working classes in the years leading up to the First World War.

Named after the area of north London in which several of the members lived, the Camden Town Group aimed to portray the everyday life and surroundings of the working and lower middle classes. This exhibition gave visitors a glimpse into the lives of the average London resident living in the 20th century. Heavily influenced by French post-impressionism, this short-lived group held only three exhibitions in its lifetime, the first being in 1911 at the renowned Carfax Gallery in London.

Portrait of Mrs Mounter, 1916-17 (oil on canvas), Gilman, Harold (1876-1919) © Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery),UK Bridgeman Images

The group in its beginnings included a weekly gathering of artists known as the Fitzroy Street Group, founded by the socially and artistically notable artist, Walter Sickert. Sickert is recognised as a highly influential member of the Camden Town Group, utilising his time spent in France and Italy to inspire and educate the other members on continental art. Other key members included Harold Gilman, Spencer Gore, and Charles Ginner, works by all of whom will be on display during the exhibition.

Camden Town Group members made a conscious decision to step away from portraying the elite and instead focused on depicting the mundane everyday lives of ordinary people. They often used pubs, eating houses, music halls and boarding houses as the primary focus of their art. Often they would portray domestic spaces and past times of their subjects in addition to urban landscapes. Works were typically small scale, modestly priced paintings, shunning away from spectacle and pretension. Their aim was to shine a light on the rapid cultural and social transformation of Edwardian Britain, a legacy which lives on today.

15 October 2016 – 22 January 2017