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Spencer Gallery Summer Exhibition

(30 March 2008)

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In the evening of the 29th March 2008 the Stanley Spencer Gallery had the Official Opening for their Summer Exhibition. The Exhibition was opened by Lord Astor, who gave a short amusing talk. The large painting facing people as they enter the gallery entitled  Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta (1959), was in fact commissioned by Lord Astor's father.  However Stanley Spencer died before it could be completed. 

The title of the new exhibition is Stanley Spencer: Prophet of Love and Work and is open until 2nd November 2008.

One of the Paintings in the Summer Exhibition - The Garage 1929

A number of the works on show illustrate the dual theme of The Scarecrowlove and work in Spencer's oeuvre. Love is redemptive, and beyond this, Spencer wished to redeem everything associated with him, however unlikely the subject. In writing to Gwen Raverat in 1932 of his early ideas for 'The Dustman' he commented, 'Dustbins are looking up…It appears that I became so enamoured of the dustman that I wanted him to be transported to heaven while in the execution of his duty.' On a more autobiographical note, also pertinent to the theme are the two wives, a mistress and the maid, key women in Spencer's life, who feature in the selection of Scrapbook drawings from the Astor Collection.

Press coverage of Spencer's dispute and consequent resignation from the Royal Academy in 1935 was widespread. It is represented in the exhibition by two of the five paintings in question: one rejected by the hanging committee, 'The Dustman' (or 'The Lovers'), and another accepted, 'The Scarecrow, Cookham'.

Lord Astor (centre) with Carolyn Leder (Curator Harrow School) who wrote the Summer Exhibition catalogue and Carolyn's husband (left)

The Gallery has also launched their new website which will includes software which allow people to look up information on Spencer's works. It can be seen at 

The Mayor Leo Walters talks to Cookhamite Linda Stone 

Chrissy Rosenthal (GalleryPR), Stuart Conlin (Gallery Chairman) and Ann Danks (Gallery Archivist)

Friends of the Spencer Gallery Enjoy a Drink and some Nibbles at the Ferry

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