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Harold Gilman: Beyond Camden Town

[ Exhibition )

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Painting by British painter Harold Gilman showing women drinking tea in a domestic interior with blue patterned wallpapers

Harold Gilman, Tea in the Bedsitter, 1916, oil on canvas, 71 x 92 cm, Kirklees Collection: Huddersfield Art Gallery

An 'English post-impressionist', Harold Gilman's portrayal of life in the early 20th century combined the gritty formality of the Camden Town Group with the vitality of post-impressionism.

British painter Harold Gilman (1876 – 1919) created an individual view of modern urban life in which the influence of Vincent van Gogh and Edouard Vuillard is clearly found. In the final decade of his life he left behind the gritty, sombre formality of the Camden Town Group with which he is usually considered, in favour of the vitality of French Post-Impressionism with its thickly applied paint and vivid colours.

Gilman’s subject matter and his precise manner of painting were not usual bedfellows. He retained some of the precision of his formal training, but was more experimental than it seems at first glance. Intimate compositions of urban domestic interiors with heavily patterned wallpapers and female figures captured the essence of his subjects – an approach that led to him being called ‘the Vuillard of London’ and ‘the English intimiste’ – but they also commented on radical social change including shifting perceptions around gender and class, and urban living standards.

Through over 50 works including several alternative versions and the famous ‘Maple Street’ interiors featuring Gilman’s charlady ‘Mrs. Mounter’, this is the first major exhibition of the artist in over 35 years. The strong sense of development during the artist’s final years can only hint at what might have followed had Gilman not died during the influenza pandemic, aged just 43.

The exhibition is curated by James Rawlin and Lara Wardle and tours from Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Discover the work of Harold Gilman

A painting by Harold Gilman showing a woman through a doorway, bent over her shopping list.

The Shopping List, c.1912

Harold Gilman, The Shopping List, c.1912, oil on canvas, 61 x 51 cm, British Council

A painting by Harold Gilman of a domestic interior scene in which is landlady Mrs Mounter stands in the doorway through to the kitchen.

Interior with Mrs. Mounter 1916-17

Harold Gilman, Interior with Mrs. Mounter 1916-17, oil on canvas, 51 x 76 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

A painting by British painter Harold Gilman showing a clothed woman sat on the edge of her bed, looking away.

Interior, 1917

Harold Gilman, Interior, 1917, oil on canvas, 59.7 x 44.5 cm, British Council

A painting by British painter Harold Gilman of a canal bridge in Flekkefjord, Norway

Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord, c.1913

Harold Gilman, Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord, c.1913, oil on canvas, 46.4 x 61.5 cm, Photo credit: Tate, London (2018)

A painting by Harold Gilman showing the interior of an eating house, in which three customers are sitting

An Eating House, 1913-14

Harold Gilman, An Eating House, 1913-14, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 61, Private Collection

A painting by British painter Harold Gilman showing a woman in a smock standing demurely in the corner of a room, looking down at her hands.

Meditation, 1910-11

Harold Gilman, Meditation, 1910-11, Oil on canvas, 62 x 46.5 cm, Reproduced courtesy of Leicester Arts and Museums Service

A portrait by British painter Harold Gilman of his mother relaxing in wicker chair and reading a book.

Interior with Artist’s Mother, 1917-18

Harold Gilman, Interior with Artist’s Mother, 1917-18, oil on canvas, 51.2 x 61.4cm, Manchester Art Gallery

A portrait by British Painter Harold Gilman of a woman in a chair wearing a hat

Mrs Victor Sly, 1914-15

Harold Gilman, Mrs Victor Sly, 1914-15, oil on canvas, 51.5 x 42 cm, The Hepworth Wakefield (Wakefield Permanent Art Collection)

Sepia photograph of the painter Harold Gilman standing in front of his easel with paintbrush in hand, at his studio at Snargate Rectory in 1905

Harold Gilman in his studio at Snargate Rectory, c.1905, photograph, private collection