Stanley Spencer's nature paintings on display in new exhibition

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

The Stanley Spencer Gallery will be opening an exhibition exploring the artist’s take on the natural world on March 31.

Delight in Nature: Stanley Spencer’s World will chart the influence the natural world had on Spencer’s development as an artist, from his early years to the end of his life.

Beginning with the drawings he did as a boy, the exhibition looks at how landscape and the natural world became an integral part of Spencer’s artistic practice.

Later in life, when he was going through a troubled divorce, Spencer complained that his landscapes and still-lifes were mere ‘pot boilers’ (easily saleable works that helped him survive financially).

However, the gallery says this exhibition reveals that Spencer’s study of nature informed his figurative work, becoming an ‘intrinsic part of his visionary narratives.’

Most of the works on display centre around the village of Cookham, Spencer’s home.

They include works from the gallery’s own collection as well as some loans, including The Dustbin (The Royal Academy of Arts), Bluebells, Cornflowers and Rhododendrons (British Council Collections), Magnolias, The Cultivator, and Cookham Rise: Cottages (all from private collections.

Curator Amanda Bradley said: “This exhibition demonstrates how the natural world and the everyday were unified with Spencer’s spiritual vision.”

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