Bequeathed by Sir Edward Marsh through the Contemporary Art Society 1953© Estate of Stanley Spencer
Self -Portrait 1914 (Tate)

So who was Stanley Spencer ?

Born in Cookham, a truly distinctive student at the Slade, studying alongside such luminaries as Paul Nash, Dora Carrington and Christopher Nevinson. Acclaimed as highly influential on mid twentieth century painters such as Hockney, Freud, Bacon, and latterly, Emin.… David Bowie was a collector of Spencer works, Billy Connolly is an enthusiast….  Stanley continually surprises those who get to know him.… will you ? 

Our Current Exhibition.

The exhibition Love, Art, Loss: The Wives of Stanley Spencer opened in mid-August
Spencer’s work was dominated by his relationships with his two wives, Hilda Carline and Patricia Preece.  Their joint lives form a compelling art historical and human story.  Add to this Spencer’s passion for his home village of Cookham and his spiritual and physical need for all three inspirations of his art and this exhibition is an unmissable event

Highlights are Hilda Carline’s defiant early self-portrait (on loan from Tate), Spencer’s own portrait of Patricia Preece (on loan from Southampton City Art Gallery) and a rarely seen self-portrait from Patrica Preece’s partner Dorothy Hepworth.  Other works are from the Stanley Spencer Gallery collection, private owners and other galleries.

 

Find out more ……

Chatto & Windus
Almanack 1927

Easter Week

Stanley Spencer painted a number of resurrections during his lifetime and each of them very much reflected his own view of the idea of resurrection.  
On returning from the First World War he produced a series of paintings, based on the Passion of Christ, unconventionally set in his home village of Cookham.  Whilst Christian in upbringing, Spencer was interested in all faiths and insisted ‘It is for me to go where the spirit moves me and not to attempt to ally it to some known and specified religion’.  For him, painting was ‘Saying Ta to God’.

ChristsEntryIntoJerusalem Christ’s Entry Into Jerusalem
Mark 11: 1-11 (Palm Sunday)

Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey as his followers throw clothes and palm leaves on the ground before Him….. a scene Spencer set in Cookham High Street. On his return from the First World War Spencer thought of this story as he re-entered the village, seeing his neighbours rushing past him and taking no notice.

1921 Leeds Art Gallery
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OverturningTables Christ Overturning the Money Changers' Tables Mark 11: 15-18 (later on Palm Sunday)

On entering Jerusalem Christ goes to the temple and turns away the moneychangers and traders: ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves’…..

1921 Stanley Spencer Gallery
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WashingPetersFeet Washing Peter’s Feet John, Chapter XIII, verses 1–13.

The table is set in preparation for the last supper. In the foreground one of the disciples sits on the ground removing his sandals. To his left kneels Christ wringing out a white cloth, a fringed towel laid across his knees as he washes Peter's feet.

Spencer has included incongruous everyday details in this painting including balloon back chairs from Spencer's family home, Fernlea, Cookham to give a domestic atmosphere.

1922 Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
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Last Supper Alternative The Last Supper Luke 22:7-34 (Maundy Thursday)

This version of The Last Supper was painted in 1922, together with three other small compositions, Washing Peter's Feet, The Robing of Christ, and The Disrobing of Christ all of which were intended to serve as predella to a larger painting of The Betrayal (second version).

1922 Private collection
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Betrayal1 The Betrayal (1st version) Matthew 26:36-55 (later on Maundy Thursday)

'The Betrayal' is set at the rear of the Spencer family home in Cookham; it shows the old malt house buildings which were later to become the setting for Spencer’s first Last Supper.

1914 Stanley Spencer Gallery

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Betrayal2 The Betrayal ( 2nd version) Matthew 26:36-55 (later on Thursday)

 'The Betrayal' is set at the rear of the Spencer family home in Cookham; Stanley and his brother Gilbert are shown watching the event from the wall to the right. The subject is the betrayal of Christ and at the moment depicted Peter has raised his sword to cut off Malchus’s ear (centre) but Jesus (the bulky figure by the gate) restrains him.

The figures in the lower left foreground are the chief priests and Pharisees mentioned in Saint John’s gospel.

1922-23 Ulster Museum
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Robing The Robing of Christ Mark 15:17 Matthew 27:28

Christ blindfolded and roughly handled by Herod’s soldiers, Christ’s face is hidden as the soldiers struggle to dress him in robes more familiar with our own royal family than those of Judea under Roman occupation.

1922 Tate
Study Stanley Spencer Gallery
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Disrobing The Disrobing of Christ Mark 15:17 Matthew 27:28

Christ blindfolded and roughly handled by Herod’s soldiers, Christ’s face is hidden as the soldiers struggle to dress him in robes more familiar with our own royal family than those of Judea under Roman occupation.

1922 Tate
Study Stanley Spencer Gallery
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TheLastSupper The Last Supper New Layer Luke 22:7-34 (Maundy Thursday)

Spencer set this in the brewery buildings in School Lane, Cookham. He could see the Malt House and the cowls from his bedroom window and they were a source of mystery to him.

1920 Stanley Spencer Gallery
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CarryingTheCross Christ Carrying the Cross New Layer Matthew 16.24 (Friday)

Jesus told his disciples: ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
A busy scene in Cookham High Street, Christ is joined by builders carrying ladders, and curtains blow from the windows of Fernlea looking like angels wings.

Tate 1922
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crucifixion1 The Crucifixion 1921 New Layer Luke23:26-27 & 32-55 (Friday)

During the First World War Spencer was on active service in Macedonia, and it is here, on what he called a ‘remote’ mountain range that he set this Crucifixion, one of three he painted during his lifetime.

Christ is on the central cross, the Virgin Mary kneels at his feet and a centurion on his horse surveys the scene, Unusually this is in oils on paper and then laid over the canvas. It was a study for much larger work, which was never painted.

1921 Aberdeen Art Galleries
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crucifixion2 The Crucifixion 1934 New Layer Luke23:26-27 & 32-55

The setting is a field near Rowborough, Cookham looking down towards the Thames. The Church and the War Memorial can be seen in the distance.

1934-36
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crucifixion3 The Crucifixion 1958 Luke23:26-27 & 32-55 (Friday)

One of three images he created of this scene. Here local workmen nail Christ to a cross mounted in Cookham High Street. The street was being dug up to lay drains.

1958
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deposition Deposition & Rolling Away of the Stone New Layer John 19:38-42

A workman (Joseph of Arimathea?) takes Christ from the cross – Mary is supported as she stands by the Christ figure whose face is calm and unlined as other workmen busy themselves removing nails. This work – a prelude to the Resurrection, shows two angels move the stone away and Jesus can be seen lying in his grave.

1956 York City Art Gallery
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RessurectionCookham Resurrection Cookham Churchyard Stanley Spencer painted a number of resurrections during his lifetime and each of them very much reflected his own view of the idea of resurrection. 15 of 15
Take a virtual walk through Cookham with Stanley
Follow in his footsteps through the village where you'll see some of of his most iconic paintings alongside how it looks today.
Let's Go !

Opening Times

Summer 2021 (1st April – 31st October)
Open Daily 10:30am – 5:30pm

Winter (5th November 2020 – 31st March 2021)
Open Daily 11am – 4:30pm
Thurs – Sun only

Admission Prices

Adults £6
Seniors & Students £4.50
Art Fund £3

Free Entry for:
Friends of the Gallery, Carers, Accompanied Children (under 16)

Find Us

Cookham is in Berkshire, 4 miles from Maidenhead, 30 miles from London and 19 miles from Reading.

The address is High St, Cookham, Berkshire, SL6 9SJ, UK

There is a small carpark near the Gallery and other parking around the village.  The Cookham branch railway line connects at Maidenhead with the Reading/Paddington line.  The Gallery is a level 10 minute walk from the station.

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