A portrait of an artistic temperament. Its principal character, Gulley Gimson, is an impoverished painter who scorns conventional good behaviour. He may be a bad citizen, but he is a good artist, so wholly preoccupied with his art that he is willing to endure any privation for its sake. Such is his contempt for orthodox mores, he takes a delight in cocking a snook at them. For him there is only one morality: to be a painter.