Spencer Gore's 'The Icknield Way' is a landscape of preternatural luminosity and compaction, which bears the stylistic imprint of Cezanne inflected by the more expressive accents of van Gogh and Gauguin. Lozenge-like simplifications of natural forms, particularly visible in the trees and clouds, unify the composition. The ensuing dynamic is both agitated and stable. Gore contrives to hold fragmentation at bay without loss of pictorial energy. He animates the work even further by exaggerating colour to a kaleidoscopic degree. This is topography deeply experienced rather than superficially observed. It is the artist's masterpiece .Gore was a founder member of the Camden Town Group, an alliance of younger artists around Walter Sickert. Popular and promising, Gore's premature death from influenza robbed the group of a leading light. Paintings of this kind exerted a considerable influence on the young Sydney painter Grace Cossington Smith, who may have seen them in London as early as 1912.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
oil on canvas
63.4 x 76.2 cm stretcher; 83.9 x 96.6 x 4.8 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Grafton Group, Alpine Club Gallery, London, 15 Mar 1913–31 Mar 1913
The Camden Town Group, Southampton Art Gallery, England, 16 Jun 1951–29 Jul 1951
Spencer Frederick Gore, 1878-1914, Arts Council Gallery, London, London, 29 Oct 1955–03 Dec 1955
Spencer Gore 1878-1914, Frederick Gore 1913-, The Redfern Gallery, London, 06 Feb 1962–03 Mar 1962
Acquisitions 1962, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Apr 1963–12 May 1963
Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV: International, Melbourne, 15 Nov 2007–24 Feb 2008
Modernists: Selections from the European Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Nov 2015–25 Apr 2016
Mrs Mollie Gore, 1914-1962, England
The Redfern Gallery, pre 27 Apr 1962, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from the Redfern Gallery 1962. Purchased from the exhibition 'Spencer Gore 1878-1914, Frederick Gore 1913-' 1962, 6 February - 3 March 1962.
Referenced in 19 publications
Alpine Club Gallery, Grafton Group exhibition, London, 1913. cat.no. 1
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 42 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1962 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1962. cat.no. 41
Arts Council of Great Britain, Spencer Frederick Gore, 1878-1914, London, 1955. cat.no. 35
Wendy Baron OBE, Perfect Moderns: A history of the Camden Town Group, 'The third Camden Town Group exhibition and the Second Post-Impressionist exhibition', pp.51-56, Aldershot, 2000, 55, 59, 132, 133 (colour illus.), 177. plate no. 23
Wendy Baron OBE, The Camden Town Group, London, 1979, 51 (colour illus.), 198. cat.no. 115
Quentin Bell, Motif 11, 'The Camden Town Group (2): Opposition and Composition', pg. 68-85, London, Winter 1963-1964, 72, 79 (illus.).
Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'European 20th Century Art', pg. 91-95, Sydney, 1984, 94 (colour illus.).
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 146, 147 (colour illus.).
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 72 (illus.), 73.
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 55 (colour illus.).
Ysanne Holt, The Geographies of Englishness: Landscape and the National Past 1880-1940, 'An ideal modernity: Spencer Gore at Letchworth', pg.91-113, New Haven, 2002, 104, 105 (illus.). plate 42
Graham Hughes, Arts review [vol. 7, no. 21], 'Spencer Gore and Stanley Spencer', London, 12 Nov 1955, 2.
Alison Inglis, Modern Britain 1900-1960, 'The exuberant landscape', pg.79, Melbourne, 2007, 78 (colour illus.), 79, 80 (colour illus.). illustration on pg.78 is a detail
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 54 (colour illus.).
Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, cover (colour illus.), 19 (colour illus.), 90. cat.no. 784
Hal Missingham (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly (vol. 4, no. 3), 'Acquisitions for 1962', pg. 139-147, Sydney, Apr 1963, 142 (illus.).
Southampton Art Gallery, The Camden Town Group: Festival of Britain exhibition by arrangement with the Arts Council of Great Britain 1951, Southampton, 1951. cat.no. 63
The Redfern Gallery, Spencer Gore 1878-1914, Frederick Gore 1913-, London, 1962. cat. no. 62