Portrait of  Rachel Westropp(1959)

Painting, Oil on canvas, 760mm x 710mm

 

Rachel’s husband Michael was vicar of Holy Trinity Church Cookham (1952-61), the setting of Spencer’s epic 1926 painting The Resurrection, Cookham.  He took a great interest in the artist, commissioning and collecting his work, and in 1958 the two men joined forces to organise a highly successful exhibition of Spencer’s paintings in the church and vicarage.  After an operation for cancer in 1959 Spencer convalesced for two months in the vicarage at Cookham, cared for by Rachel.  The portrait of Rachel Westropp was given by the artist to Michael as a birthday present.  It took approximately six weeks to complete, as the sitter, with a young family and a prominent role in the community, could only spare short periods at a time.

Private Collection; on long term loan to The Stanley Spencer Gallery