Contemporary Art Society Annual Report 1914 – 1919

14 August 2014
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Report 1914-1919
Cover for the Contemporary Art Society Report 1914-1919

The Contemporary Art Society.



Treasurer : Honorary Secretary:
Hewell Grange, Redditch. Bourton House, Shrivenham.

Committee :


From the conviction that some of the finer artistic talent of our time is imperfectly or not at all represented in the National and Municipal Galleries, the Contemporary Art Society was initiated in the year 1909. Its aim is to encourage by purchase and exhibition the more remarkable examples of painters who in any other country would enjoy a certain official patronage. During the last century little or no attempt was made to secure for the nation any vital contemporary painting which has stood the test of time. It is almost entirely due to private munificence and foresight that Alfred Stevens, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Impressionists are represented at all in the National Collections or in Municipal Galleries. The Contemporary Art Society hopes to obviate a similar reproach being made against the present age. The Committee, on which are represented widely different opinions, believes that, with the exercise of discrimination, pictures by contemporary artists should be purchased in order to supply what may seem to posterity an inexcusable gap in our public museums and galleries, already overloaded with ephemeral work of the age preceding our own. The scope of the Society is limited to artists living or recently dead, and is chiefly concerned with British art; but it is open to subscribers to allocate the whole or any part of their subscriptions to a separate fund for acquiring the works of foreign artists.

The annual subscription is placed at the figure of one guinea in order that as large a number of members may be enlisted as possible, but the Committee appeals earnestly to ail lovers of art to contribute as largely as possible, and to obtain contributions from their friends.  Cheques should be made payable to the Contemporary Art Society and crossed “Coutts & Co.”


THE Committee have the pleasure to submit a report dealing with the purchases made by the Society during the period of the war, and up to December 31st, 1919, and the balance sheet showing the financial position of the Society as at that date. Since the date of the last report, and during the period of the war, the Society made further purchases, a list of which is included in Appendix A.

By the kindness of Lord and Lady Henry Bentinck pictures belonging to the Society were on view at 53, Grosvenor Square, in 1914. In that year the Society exhibited pictures and drawings in Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, and Belfast, and some pictures were also lent for an exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. During the following year pictures were lent to Rochdale and Glasgow, and for an exhibition in Macclesfield. Pictures were again lent to Leicester in 1919. The attendance at the shows has been uniformly good, and the controversy which these exhibitions has stirred up, has done much to stimulate a more general interest in the work of contemporary artists of all schools.

For propaganda purposes, during the war, several of the pictures belonging to the Society were included in a loan exhibition which was sent to Switzerland in 1918. The exhibitions have been made as wide in scope as possible, since it is the opinion of the Committee that any loan collection should embrace the expression of all serious attempts which are being made by the more progressive painters of the day. A fund was started in 1919 in connection with the Society, for the purpose of acquiring original modern prints and drawings, both British and foreign, which should remain in the possession of the Society for a certain period, and should subsequently be presented to the British Museum. This fund was organised and administered by Mr. Campbell Dodgson, the Keeper of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, who kindly arranged for two exhibitions at 22, Montagu Square, W., for the benefit of the fund. A separate report as to the work of the fund is attached, from which i t will be seen that thanks to Mr. Campbell Dodgson’s untiring energy, considerable results have been achieved. As has been stated in a previous report, the purchases on behalf of the Society are made by one member of the Committee appointed to buy for six months, in order to allow of representation of varying schools of thought. The purchases in every case are retained by the Society or presented to some public gallery, and after a certain number of years it is in the power of the Committee to sell any of the pictures with which they are not then in sympathy, or which may not have stood the test of time, and out of the proceeds to buy other works to replace them.

In the year 1917 the Society decided to present to the National Gallery of British Art some of the pictures which they had acquired, and these are set out in Appendix B. The pictures were gratefully accepted by the Trustees and will in due course be exhibited in the gallery. In order that subscribers may have some record of the results of their donations, it has been decided to reproduce some of the principal purchases in this report. This has not hitherto been done in order to keep down the expenses of administration, but the Committee feel that as the fund has been spared the cost of reports during the war they are justified in incurring the expense in what may be called their Peace Report, more especially as it is hoped to revive public interest in the work of the Society. The Committee are very anxious to start a separate fund for the purchase of work by contemporary artists of foreign nationality. It is felt that the public galleries in England are very deficient in representative works of foreign schools, and they appeal for additional subscriptions which can be earmarked for this purpose.

During the war, more especially the latter years, the Society somewhat naturally found less scope for exhibition and general work, and also the subscriptions of many members were diverted to charities and other urgent appeals in connection with the war. The Committee are desirous that the Society should now enter on a fresh career of usefulness, and for this purpose they most earnestly appeal to all those who formerly took an interest in its work and aims to assist, not only by subscriptions, but also by making the Society known as widely as possible amongst friends and acquaintances.

The Committee, while thanking friends for gifts of works, would be glad to consider further gifts, and also loans of pictures for long or short periods. A list of purchases and gifts acquired by the Society prior to 1914 will be found in Appendix C, and a list of members with their subscriptions from 1913 to 1919 will be found in Appendix D.


(subsequent to last report in 1913).

Purchased 1914.
Bone, Muirhead, Sketch in Viterbo.
Gertler, Mark, Fruit Sorters, 30 x 25 ins. Oil.
Sickert, Walter , Ennui (PI. I I I . ), 59 1/2 x 44 ins. Oil.
Spencer, Gilbert, Seven Ages of Man, 54 x 81 ins. Oil.

Purchased 1915.
Adeney, W. B., Tunley Bottom, 22 x 30 ins. Oil.
Barne, George,  Still Life, 15 x 18 ins. Oil.
Esplin, Mabel, Music,
Guevara, Alvaro, Music Hall, 13 x 18 ins. Oil.
Lees, Derwent, Aldbourne, 28 x 86 ins. Oil.
Pissarro, Lucien, High View: Fishpond, 21 x 25 1/2 ins. Oil.
Tonks, Henry, Two Pastels : M. Rodin 14 x 11 ins. Pastel. Mme. Rodin, 14 x  9 ins. Pastel.

Purchased 1916.
Ginner, Charles, Victoria, 80 x 34 1/2 ins. Oil.
Gore, Spencer, Houghton Place, 20 x 24 ins. Oil.
Hamnett, Nina, Still Life, 18 x 14 ins. Oil.
Harmar, Fairlie, After a Game of Lawn Tennis, 22 x 27 ins. Oil.
Kristian, Roald, Still Life, 18 x 15 ins. Oil.
Morrice, James W., House in Santiago, 21 1/2 x 25 1/2. Oil.
Nevinson, C. R. W, La Mitrailleuse, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.
O’Connor, R,  Irises, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.

Purchased 1917.
Baker, C. H. Collins, Cader and Birdrock, 20 x 30 ins. Oil.
Ferguson, J . D., Lady’s Head, 14 x 10 ins. Oil.
Fletcher, Hanslip, Baker’s Chop House, 8 x 13 ins. Water Colour.
Henderson, Elsie M., Study of a Tiger, 8 x 14 ins. Chalk.
Henderson, Elsie M., Three Studies of Leopards, 9 x 14 ins. Chalk.
Henderson, Elsie M., Puma, 9  x 14 ins. Drawing.*
* Presented to British Museum.

Purchased 1918.
Brett, Hon. Dorothy, Umbrellas, 48 x 48 ins. Oil.
Fry, Roger, Lily, 36 x 19 ins. Oil.
Gertler, Mark, Still Life, 25 x 30 ins. Oil.
Gill, Eric, Stations of the Cross, 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 ins. Drawing. *
Ginner, Charles, Penally Hill, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.
Kennington, Eric, A Lean-to, 19 x 24 ins. Oil.
Kennington, Eric, Raider with a Cosh (PI. VI.),  24 x 18 ins. Chalk.
Milne, Malcolm, Apple Blossom, 15 x 12 ins. Oil.
Nash, Paul, Sanctuary Wood, 10 x 14 ins. Chalk.
* Presented to British Museum.

(subsequent to last report in 1913).
Tonks, Henry, The Toilet, 11 x 15 ins. Pastel. Presented by T. G. Blackwell, Esq. for presentation to the Tate Gallery.
Wolmark, Alfred, Two Fishermen, 51 x 38 ins. Oil. Presented by Alfred Kohnstamm, Esq.

Knox, Miss, A Cornish Mine, 11  3/4  x 15 1/2 ins. Water Colour. Presented by Lord Henry Bentinck, M.P.
Pissarro, Lucien, Eden Valley, 21 x 25 1/2 ins. Oil. Presented by Sir Michael Sadler, C.B., K.C.S.I.

Henderson, Elsie M., Leopard Standing, 9 x 13 1/2 ins. Charcoal. Presented by T. G. Blackwell, Esq., for presentation to the British Museum.
Henderson, Elsie M., Three Studies of a Lioness, 8 1/2 x 13 ins. Charcoal. Presented by Campbell Dodgson, Esq., for presentation to the British Museum.
Lamb, Henry, Head of a Woman, 12 x 8 ins. Drawing. Presented by Lord Henry Bentinck, M.P. Presented to Tate Gallery, 1917.
Rothenstein, William, Head of Tagore, 14 1/2 x 9 ins. Drawing. Presented by Lord Henry Bentinck, M.P. Presented to Tate Gallery, 1917.


List of Pictures presented to the National Gallery, British Art, in 1917.
Bone, Muirhead, Botanical Gardens, Glasgow (PI. IV.), .25 x 30 ins. Oil.
Cameron, D. Y., R.A., Ben Ledi —Early Spring (PI. I I . ), 51 1/2 X 45 1/2 ins. Oil.
Gauguin, Paul, Tahitian Study, 33 1/2 x 40 3/4 ins. Oil.
Gere, Margaret, Noah’s Ark, 9 3/4 x  9 3/4 ins. Oil.
Grant, Duncan . . Queen of Sheba, 47 x 47 ins. Oil.
Henderson, Elsie M., Three Studies of a Leopard, 9 3/4  x 14 3/4 ins. Drawing.
Henderson, Elsie M., A Tiger, 8.5 x 14 1/4 ins. Drawing.
Holmes, C. J., Red Ruin (PI. I I .), 18 x 32 ins. Oil.
John, Augustus, Smiling Woman, 77 x 88 ins. Oil.
John, Augustus, Walpurgis Night, 12 1/2 x 18 1/2 ins. Oil.
John, Gwen, Nude Girl, 17 1/2 x 11 ins. Oil.
John, Gwen, Girl Reading, 16 x 10 ins. Oil.
McEvoy, Ambrose, In a Mirror, 18 x 14 ins. Oil.
Nevinson, C. R. W, La Mitrailleuse, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.
Nicholson, William, Lowestoft Bowl, 19 x 24 ins. Oil.
Pissarro, Lucien, High View : Fishpond, 21 x 25 1/2 ins. Oil.
Rich, A. W.,  St. Mary’s, Oxford, 9 1/2 x 10 7/8 ins. Oil.
Sickert, Walter, Portrait of George Moore, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.
Sickert, Walter, Despair, 7 3/8 x 4 5/8 ins. Pencil.
Thomas, J . Havard,  The Offering, 22 1/4 x 21 7/8 ins. Pencil.
Tonks, Henry, A Girl’s Head, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.
Tonks, Henry, Girl with Parrot (PI. V.), 18 x 12 ins. Oil.

Epstein, Jacob, Girl’s Head, 14 3/4 ins high. Bronze.
Ricketts, Charles, Mother and Child, 9 ins high. Bronze.

(Prior to 1914.)
Bell, Vanessa, Girlhood of Thisbe, 29 3/4 x 20 1/4 ins. Oil.
Bone, Muirhead, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, 25 x 30. Oil.
Cameron, D. Y . , R.A., Ben Ledi, 51 1/2 x 45 1/2. Oil.
Etchells, Miss, Still Life, 18 x 14 ins. Oil.
Etchells, F ., Woman at Mirror, 45 x 29 1/2 ins. Oil.
Gauguin, Paul, Tahitian Study, 33 1/2 x 40 3/4 ins. Oil.
Gere, Margaret, Noah’s Ark, 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 ins. Oil.
Grant, Duncan, Adam and Eve. Oil.
Hamilton, C. F ., The Natives, 32 x 23 1/2 ins. Oil.
Japp, Darsie, In Dentdale, 22 x 80 ins. Oil.
John, Augustus, Smiling Woman, 77 x 88 ins. Oil.
Lamb, Henry, Phantasy,  34 x 24 ins. Oil.
Lees, Derwent, Arenig Manor, North Wales, 10 x 14 ins. Oil.
Lewis, Wyndham, Laughing Woman. Oil.
McBey, James, Trial Proof, 10 1/2 x 14 3/4 ins. Water Colour.
McEvoy, Ambrose, La Reprise, 25 x 80 Oil.
McEvoy, Ambrose, Study of Model for picture ‘The Ear-ring”. Water Colour.
Macgregor, W. Y . , A.R.S.A., Street in Fuenterrabia, 36 x 22 ins. Oil.
Nicholson, William, Lowestoft Bowl, 19 x 24 ins. Oil.
Pissarro, Lucien, Blackpool Valley, 21 x 251/2 ins. Oil.
Rothenstein, William, A Fakir, 15 1/4 x 10 1/2 ins. Drawing.
Sickert, Walter, Despair, 7 3/8 x 4 5/8 ins. Drawing.
Sickert, Walter, Army and Navy, 20 x 16 ins. Oil.
Squire, H. , The Blue Pool, 18 x 22 ins. Oil
Storey, G. A., R.A., The Artist’s Father, 23 x 19 1/2 ins. Oil.
Symons, Christian, The Little Squaw, 22 x 16 1/2 ins. Oil.
Tonks, Henry, Girl’s Head, 24 x 20 ins. Oil.

Epstein, Jacob, Bust of a Girl. Bronze.
Gill, Eric, Two Bas-reliefs. Bronze.

(Prior to 1914.)
Cole, E., Nude Figure, 7 x 5 ins. Drypoint Etching. Presented by Ernest Collings, Esq.
Conder, Charles, The Green Apple, 25 x 30 ins. Oil. Presented by Dalhousie Young, Esq.
Eden, Sir Wra., Bart, Interior of a Church, 9 1/2 x 13 1/2 ins. Water Colour. Presented by the Artist.
Fisher, Mark, A.R.A, Boys Bathing, 16 1/4 x 14 3/4 ins. Water Colour. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
Holmes, C. J. , The Red Ruin, 18 x 32 ins. Oil. Presented by the Artist.
John, Augustus, Study, 13 3/4 x 9 1/2 ins. Drawing. Presented by A. N. MacNicoll, Esq.
John, Gwen, Nude, 17 1/2 x 11 ins. Oil. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
John, Gwen, Girl Reading, 16 x 10 ins. Oil. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
Muirhead, David, On The Orwell, 9 3/4 x 13 3/4 ins. Water Colour. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
Rich, A. W., St. Mary’s Church, 9 1/4 x 10 7/8 ins. Drawing. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
Rothenstein, Wm., Jews Praying, 14 1/2 x 9 1/2 ins. Drawing. Presented by a Member of the Committee.
Rothenstein, Wm., Two Figures (Women), 38 x 30 ins. Oil. Presented by Dalhousie Young, Esq.
Sands, Miss, The Chintz Couch, 18 1/4 x 15 ins. Oil. Presented by the Artist.
Sickert, Walter, Portrait of George Moore, 24 x 20 ins. Oil. Presented by P. W. Steer, Esq.
Thompson, George, The Harbour, 9 3/4 x 14 1/4 ins. Drawing. Presented by the Lady Henry Bentinck.
Thomas, J. Havard, The Offering, 22 1/4 x 21 7/8 ins. Drawing. Presented by Sir M. Sadler, C.B.
Tonks, Henry, Girl and Parrot, 18 x 12 ins. Oil. Presented by W. C. Alexander, Esq.

Epstein, Jacob, The Dreamer. Presented by Mr. & Mrs. Francis Dodd.
Ricketts, Charles, Mother and Child. Presented by a member of the Committee.

Funds for Prints and Drawings.
A SPECIAL Fund for the acquisition of British and Foreign Prints and Drawings, distinct from the general fund of the Society, was founded in June, 1919, and inaugurated by an exhibition of Modern French Prints held for its benefit at 22, Montagu Square, W., in July. Prints or drawings purchased by this Fund will remain for a limited period in the Society’s possession, and will be available for exhibition, both in London and in the provinces. They will then be offered to the Trustees of the British Museum for presentation to the Department of Prints and Drawings, or to other galleries. The Keeper of Prints and Drawings will, ex officio, administer the Fund, and make such purchases from it as he thinks desirable, reporting to the Committee.

A statement of accounts, with list of subscribers and donors, and a list of acquisitions to December 31st, 1919, are appended. Many fresh subscriptions have since been received, and some important drawings and prints, including several specimens of Degas, Forain and Toulouse-Lautrec, have been bought in the current year ; a list of these is appended. A first exhibition, consisting of works acquired up to April, 1920, was held at 22, Montagu Square, in May. Other exhibitions have been held during 1920 at the Art Gallery, Derby, and the Art Gallery, Sheffield.

Applications for the loan of works acquired by this Fund are invited, and should be addressed to the Keeper of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, who will furnish all particulars. Offers of subscriptions or gifts to this Fund should be sent to the same address.

November 15th, 1920.


Gosse, Sylvia,  A.R.E., Le petit dejeuner, Water Colour.
John, Augustus, Girl with arms Folded, Black Chalk.

Baltus, Georges M., Head of Woman. Lithograph.
Beltrand, Camille, Coin de Galerie a Notre Dame; Ruelle des Gobelins; Paysage au pommier;  le Chemin aux pommiers. “Camaieu” woodcuts.
Beltrand, Camille, A Lithograph, after Constantin Guys.
Bonfils, Robert, Dormeuse. Woodcut printed in Colours.
Busset, Maurice, En Escadrille. Set of 20 Woodcuts printed in Colours.
Chalandre, Fernand, Four Views in Nevers and Vezelay. Woodcuts.
Dupont, Pieter, Oxen Ploughing. Etching.
Gabain, Ethel, L’enfant endormi; The Mirror; Une dame qui se chausse. Lithographs.
Hall, Oliver, A.R.A., Trees, Hayling Island; Storm Clearing; Sinah Warren; Trees on the Hill Side. Etchings.
Henderson, E . M., Wounded Lion. Lithograph.
Jackson, F . Ernest, Portrait of Miss E. M. Henderson. Lithograph.
Lumsden, Ernest S., A . R . E ., Seven Views in Jodhpur and Benares. Etchings.
Orovida, Rabbit and Melon. Etching.
Pissarro, Paul-Emile, 3 Woodcuts.
Raverat, Gwendolen, A.R.E. Cobbled Yard ; Fair Annie ; Gypsies;Sir Thomas Browne; Nativity; The Marsh. Woodcuts.
Rooke, Noel. The Two Bridges; Munitioners. Woodcuts.
Royd, Mabel A., The Sword Grinder; Prickly Pear; Tight-rope Dancer. Woodcuts printed in Colours.
Strang, Ian, Wheelwright’s Yard, Palermo. Etching.
Wadsworth, Edward, Liverpool Shipping; Interior; Illustration to “Typhoon”. Woodcuts.

GIFTS, 1919.

Pott, Constance M., R . E ., The Strand, 1905; Castleton Moor. Etchings. Presented by M. B. Walker, Esq.
Pryse, Gerald Spencer, British Indians in France. Lithograph. Presented by Miss E . P. McGhee.
Raverat, Gwendolen, Margaret’s Ghost; Creation of Light; Sheep; Sheep by a River; Spring Morning; The Farm Pond; The Primrose Wood. Woodcuts. Presented by the Artist.
Wadsworth, Edward, Facade ; Invention; Riponeli; ” Dazzled” Ship in Dry-dock ; Turret Ship in Dry-dock; Blast Furnaces. Woodcuts. Presented by the Artist.

(to JUNE 30th).
Degas, E ., Torse de femme nue. Black Chalk.
Degas, E., La Sortie du bain (Study for lithograph). Black Chalk.

Forain, J . L ., Femme nue assise sur son lit. Black & Red Chalk.
Lightfoot, M. G., View of Conway. Red Chalk. Presented by Miss E. Q. Henriques.
Marchand, J.,  Paysage (Cagne, Alpes Maritimes). Pen and Ink. Presented by Miss E. Q. Henriques.
Meninsky, B., A Baby. Pencil.
Picart-Le-Doux, Village de Lavardin. Pen and Ink.
Rodin, A., Nude. Pencil Outline and Water-colour.
Rothenstein, W., View of Ypres. Gouache.
Rutherston, A. D., Gorge du Loup, Grasse. Water-colour.
Segonzac, A. Dunoyer, La Sieste. Pen and Ink.
Vlaminck, Landscape. Water-colour.
Wheatley, John, Portrait of W. H. Davis (poet). Water-colour.

Brangwyn, F., R.A., “They cry ‘Peace’ when there is no peace”. Lithograph.
Brockhurst, G. L ., Melisande. Etching.
Cosomati, Ettore, Two Views on the Lake of Zurich. Woodcuts.
Degas, E ., Apres le bain. Lithograph.
Forain, J . L . , Le Calvaire. Etching. Presented by G. Henderson, Esq.
Forain, J.L., Les Notables. Etching.
Forain, J.L., Le Tremplin. Lithograph.
John, A. E ., The Tinkers. Lithograph.
Migonney, Jules, Apres le bain. Woodcut.
Osborne, Malcolm, A.R.A., William Morris, after Watts. Mezzotint.
Steinlen, T. A., Cat Asleep. Soft ground etching; 1st state.
Toulouse-Lautrec, H. de, Le Lever. Lithograph, printed in Colours.
Toulouse-Lautrec, H. de, Lender en buste. Ditto.
Veresmith, D.A., The Little Sack-Mender. Lithograph.

To download the complete Contemporary Art Society Report 1914 – 1919 as a pdf click here


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