Spring: Stanley Spencer

Lilac and Clematis at Englefield oil on canvas 20" x 30" 1955

Landscape with Magnolia oil on canvas 91.7 x 61.3 cm 1938

Wysteria, Cookham 1942


Sir Stanley Spencer's (1891-1959) most ambitious work depicts religious and military narratives, but I'm especially drawn to his intensely scrutinized landscapes. These natural scenes did seem to have had religious significance for Spencer, who once said "As a child I used to peep through chinks in fences, and catch glimpses of....gardens of Eden."

Stanley Spencer's personal life had some bizarre aspects. If you didn't already know, here are some essentials: he divorced his wife Hilda Carline and four days later married Patricia Preece.  Preece was a lesbian, and refused to consummate the marriage. Here is a photograph of Patricia Preece, her lover Dorothy Hepworth, and a surprisingly short Stanley Spencer, on their wedding day.

Dorothy Hepworth, Patricia Preece and Stanley Spencer (wearing glasses)

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