This painting is a rare discovery. It has not been included in any Gore retrospective exhibition and it has not been published. It is the sole interior painted by Gore during his all too brief residence in Richmond between summer 1913 and March 1914. A cold, caught during the hours he spent studying the winter trees in Richmond Park in preparation for his sequence of park landscapes, developed into the pneumonia which killed him. He was 35 years old.
Gore had been a founding member of the Fitzroy Street Group over which Sickert presided, and in 1911 was elected President of the Camden Town Group. He had no enemies. Charm, tact and intelligence enabled him to deal with the most truculent of his colleagues. He was a natural leader. Although Gore's career as a painter lasted barely 10 years, his art developed swiftly. Goya (in his zany early music halls), Impressionism mediated through Lucien Pissarro (a fellow member of the Fitzroy Street Group), Sickert (especially in his intimate Camden Town figure subjects), were his chief inspirations before his eyes were opened to new possibilities in December 1910 by Roger Fry's 'Post-impressionist exhibition'. A selection of Gauguin's paintings at the Stafford Gallery in 1911 completed this artistic re-education. Gauguin, Cézanne and Derain stimulated Gore to abandon the broken brushwork and crusty surface of his earlier work in favour of flat colours and angular, strongly defined outlines.
Gore, his wife and baby daughter moved from Camden Town to 6 Cambrian Road in Richmond in the summer of 1913. Outdoor subjects, in particular the surrounding suburban streets and the wooded park, occupied nearly all his attention. We can assess his production with considerable accuracy from their 'Gilman labels'. After Gore's sudden death, his widow and Gilman sorted out all the paintings which remained in his studio. It had been Gore's practice to sign his work when it sold, but seldom to sign unsold work. Therefore they stamped each work with the artist's name (S.F. GORE within a boxed outline, as in the present painting). They also placed descriptive handwritten labels on the back of each painting, numbered acording to the presumed chronology of his work. An 'a' was added to the number if Mrs Gore and Gilman held the painting to be of particular importance. Sadly many of these labels were removed by owners before their purport was appreciated. Happily, the artist's son kept a notebook in which he listed the works known to him, with their 'Gilman numbers'. The number of the first Richmond subject was 176; the last was 213. Thirty of these 37 paintings were Richmond subjects, but only 5 were painted indoors: three still lifes, a self-portrait and the present unique interior, assigned the number 209a and recorded in the notebook as 'Interior of Cambrian Road, Richmond with MG sewing at table' (MG being Mrs Gore, Mary Johanna née Kerr, generally known as Mollie). The handwritten label still exists glued to the stretcher, but it cannot be read easily in its entirety because other labels and sticky tape have been pasted over it.
Knowledge of the precise subject of this painting is exciting. More exciting still is the astonishing treatment. The vivid colours, with sudden juxtapositions of bright blue, turquoise, yellow, lilac and reddish browns and the horizontal planar compositional arrangement, the use of a view through a doorway (against which the figure is silhouetted) and thence through a window, show Gore experimenting with a new kind of interior, very different from his Camden Town works in this genre. Most remarkably, we can see in this one painting by Gore a striking anticipation of Gilman's Maple Street interiors. It is still heart-breaking to realise that this joyful picture was the fifth last work painted by Gore.