From 1909 until 1912 Gore rented a front room at 31 Mornington Crescent from the local vicar where he lived and painted. He breakfasted in the family sitting-room downstairs. A number of pictures were composed here, both interiors, and as with the present composition, showing the gardens.
Gore painted tennis subjects a number of times, both in Mornington Crescent and Hertingfordbury. His father had been a sportsman and winner of the first Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon (see F. Farmar, exhibition catalogue, The Painters of Camden Town 1905-1920, London, Christie's, 1988, p. 91).
In 'A Perfect Modern' (New Age, 9 April 1914), published after Gore's death, Gore's great friend Sickert wrote, 'There was a few years ago a month of June which Gore verily seems to have used as if he had known that it was to be for him the last of its particularly fresh and sumptuous kind. He used it to look down on the garden of Mornington Crescent. The trained trees rise and droop in fringes, like fountains, over the little well of greenness and shade where parties of young people are playing at tennis. The backcloth is formed by the tops of the brown houses of the Hampstead Road, and the liver coloured tiles of the Tube Station'. The 'well of greenness' was replaced in 1926 by the building originally erected for the Carreras cigarette factory (see W. Baron, Perfect Moderns A History of the Camden Town Group, London, 2000, p. 118).
Raymond Mortimer, a previous owner of this picture, was best known as a literary critic and a chief reviewer at the Sunday Times. He was also an important collector of Modern British art and bought widely from many London Galleries. His collection included superb examples by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Ivon Hitchens, John Banting, Walter Richard Sickert, Graham Sutherland, William Scott amongst others. Tennis in Mornington Crescent Gardens was sold at Christie's as part of the collection of the late Professor J.R. Lander who had inherited, via Paul Hyslop, a number of key pictures from Mortimer's collection.