Groups and Gatherings

People in striped swimsuits in the sea

Walter Sickert, 'The Bathers, Dieppe', (1902)
© National Museum Liverpool

London's Royal Academy dictated British artistic taste throughout the 19th century. Reacting to its dominance and lack of experimentation, artists including Philip Wilson Steer and Walter Sickert founded groups and societies for exhibiting and debate.

Amongst them were the influential New English Art Club, formed in 1886, and the Fitzroy Street Group, 1907. They looked to French Impressionism for inspiration. From 1911, the Camden Town Group developed in response to two ground-breaking Post-Impressionist exhibitions that introduced artists like Gauguin, Van Gogh and Matisse to the London public. By the First World War, the colours artists used and the way in which they painted with them started to undergo dramatic change.

A number of the paintings here were acquired by Frank Lambert, the Walker Art Gallery's Director from 1932-52. His purchasing cast aside the conservative taste of the previous decades, often in the face of local political opposition against anything 'modern', Harold Gilman's 'Mrs Mounter' is considered his major purchase.