Mind and Mortality

Stanley Spencer’s Final Portraits

4 November 2021 – 27 March 2022

Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) was one of the finest portrait painters of the twentieth-century, creating penetrating images of people he knew and admired.

He also captured his own features as they changed over the decades, and this exhibition will include his earliest known self-portrait of 1912, (on loan from the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead) and his last two in 1959, finished just months before his death from cancer.

The unflinching gaze of his drawing in red crayon makes a startling contrast with the much tamer oil painting he made a few days later (on loan from Tate).  Exhibited side-by-side for the first time, they give us a moving insight into how the artist confronted his own mortality. 

This exhibition also brings together some of his best-loved portraits.  Highlights include his portraits of war hero Eric Williams MC, and ‘modern Holbein’ Dr Osmund Frank, as well as intimate pencil sketches of friends and family, many on loan from private collections.