DELIGHT IN NATURE: Stanley Spencer’s World

31 March – 06 November 2022

Stanley Spencer loved the world around him, and in particular his home village of Cookham. Not only were landscapes and still-lifes painted with exquisite detail, but they were also expressions of his visionary, spiritual world. Stanley complained that some of his landscapes were ‘pot boilers’ – easily saleable works that helped him survive financially – but actually his study of nature informed and became a part of his figurative work. He delighted in the detail of each leaf and blade – for him everything had meaning.

This exhibition will demonstrate how the natural world and the everyday were unified with Spencer’s spiritual vision: how rubbish became something beautiful; suburban spaces were considered places for mysterious, heavenly happenings; and how the sacred co-existed with the profane. Spencer’s paintings of the natural world were not just a financial necessity but were a form of personal redemption.  

Copyright Estate of Stanley Spencer. On loan from private collection

We are delighted that one of the paintings coming in on loan is this exquisite landscape of 1935-36.

Cookham Rise Cottages – a work which exemplifies his love of nature and inspired a contemporary critic to write “He loves it all too much to leave anything out”….

Some highlights from the Exhibition