Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Two Spencer Gores

This year's Wimbledon championship will be the 125th - a fact that will no doubt excite much brouhaha. It was back in 1877 that a fine all-round sportsman called Spencer Gore won the first All England Lawn Tennis Championship (lawn tennis, I should explain, is the new-fangled term for Sphairistike). This was a Gentlemen's Singles competition, and it was a leisurely affair, suspended at the weekend for the Eton-Harrow cricket match at Lord's (Gore was a Harrow boy), and the final was delayed for four days by inclement weather. In the end, Gore walked off with the 12 guinea prize money and a silver cup - a quite sufficient emolument, I'd say (even minus the guinea entry fee). Spencer Gore's other great achievement in life was to father the painter of the same name, a friend of Sickert's and founder member of the Camden Town Group. Sadly, this Spencer Gore died at the age of 35, of pneumonia, after being caught in a storm while out painting. The picture above is one of his.


  1. Never heard of him, though to my eternal shame, I'd never heard of Sickert until this week when I stood for half-an-hour looking at his 'Jack the Ripper', which I imagine is about as far from this painting as it's possible to get.

    Can't say I like this painting... Feels like two paintings stuck jarringly together about the middle, which I suppose might be the point.

  2. Agreed.

    Here's one that is a little better.

  3. Yes that's better indeed -
    but really, whichever way you cut it, English painting of that period breaks down into Sickert and the rest. I don't much like Spencer Gore's palette...

  4. We've all been there. You've set up an All England Lawn Tennis Championship but you haven't got a champion. Enter Spencer Gore.

  5. I know so very little of this but that struck me going around a gallery with quite a few of Sickert's paintings. I'd find myself stopping in front of paintings before I realised they were by Sickert.

    There was another artist, William Roberts, who came close. I couldn't stop looking at his wife.

  6. Well, there was (is?) Stanhope Alexander Forbes. He could wield a pretty mean brush... (I've always felt Sickert was trying too hard).

  7. Looking for a witty British blog to follow: Enter you and your hilarious followers. Thanks Nige.

  8. Welcome aboard, Barbara - and yes Stanehope Forbes a v accopmlished painter.


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