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The Icknield Way



Spencer Gore


26 May 1878 - 27 Mar 1914


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.




Media category


Materials used

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.


Purchased 1962

Accession number


Artist information

Spencer Gore

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history


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. 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. 41

Arts Council of Great Britain, Spencer Frederick Gore, 1878-1914, London, 1955. 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. 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. 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. 63

The Redfern Gallery, Spencer Gore 1878-1914, Frederick Gore 1913-, London, 1962. cat. no. 62