Forbes excelled in his ability to capture the rugged character of his Cornish sitters, lit up against the firelight of a gloomy interior, or seen in the light of a lantern on a country road. Discussing the pictures of this period, Mrs. Lionel Birch (Stanhope A. Forbes, A.R.A., and Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes, A.R.W.S., London, 1906, pp. 103-4) comments, 'Now we come to a class of work which might be described as 'idylls of the road', subjects which the painter and Lavengro might have shaken hands; figures found and drawn in their environment of woodland places; men and horses mirrored in quiet pools, such as in The Drinking Place, and Nomads; the roadside church with the square tower, and walls centuries old, drop their yellow leaves, in October, and then Lighting Up Time [illustrated], in which the jaded horse and the tired family pause in the gathering gloom, on the moorland road.
Of this picture Mr. Wilfred Meynell has written so sympathetically that perhaps we may be permitted to turn to him again: 'The evening has its local colour. It is not dusk merely; it is the dusk of Cornwall - the county's very own; charged, therefore, with memories and meanings for all who ever 'trod the skirts of the eventide' in those romantic parts. One such, seeing that picture amid the common ruck of Academy pictures was instantly arrested; a Cornish holiday of his youth came back to him, with all his broodings under that brooding sky'.
In Round the Camp Fire Mr. Forbes has put all his strength into the masterly rendering of the firelit faces. Painted with a full brush and a vibrant sense of colour, he has yet, from the point of view of character studies, never done anything better than the strongly marked heads bending towards the light from out of the gloom of the dark blue night beyond'.