The Alhambra was one of the best known music halls, situated in Leicester Square, London. Gore painted there between 1905 and 1911. A 'lofty Moorish building', it was distinguished by its extravagant façade and ornate interior. It specialised in spectacular musical ballets and exotic stage designs.
The flags in this picture suggest that it is a view of the audience at the Alhambra during a performance of a patriotic ballet called Our Flag, first performed on 20 December 1909. It starred a Danish ballerina, Britte Petersen. The bold shapes of the foreground figures, the concentration on audience and the move away from impressionist handling relates it to The Balcony at the Alhambra, 1911-12 (York City Art Gallery) (see F. Farmar, Exhibition catalogue, The Painters of Camden Town 1905-1920, London, Christie's, 1988, p. 97).
It is interesting to note that after an initial dependence on Sickert when painting music-hall compositions, Gore quickly developed his own approach to such subjects. He often favoured an assymetrical presentation and he revelled in the riot of colour at his favourite music-hall, the Alhambra which specialised in spectacular ballet displays with luscious backdrops and ornate costumes. Sickert never painted there, preferring the more down-to-earth atmosphere of the traditional working-class music-halls in shabbier districts of London. (See W. Baron, Exhibition catalogue, The Camden Town Group, Connecticut, Yale Centre for British Art, April-June 1980, pp. 38 and 39.)
Gore probably saw the retrospective exhibition of Gauguin's work held in Paris in 1906 but, still having to work his way through Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, he was not then ready to assimilate later French developments. He responded to the art of Gauguin when given another opportunity to study his work within the exhibition organised by Roger Fry, 'Manet and the Post-Impressionists', held at the Grafton Gallery during the winter of 1910-1911 (see W. Baron, The Camden Town Group, London, 1979, p. 116).