DELIGHT IN NATURE: Stanley Spencer’s World

31 March – 30 October 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.  

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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 fom the Exhibition