Madonna Lillies (c.1935)
Stanley Spencer was born at Fernlea, Cookham High Street on 30 June 1891, the tenth child of a family of eleven, of whom two died in infancy. His father William was an organist and music teacher. Pupils coming for lessons and his older siblings practicing the piano or the violin created a musical atmosphere in which Stanley flourished. Music was always an important part of his life.
Two of his sisters ran a school in a shed in Fernlea garden and Stanley received his early education at their hands. His reading was based on the Bible, Bunyan and Milton. He attended the parish church as well as his mother's Methodist chapel (now the Spencer Gallery).
His early interest and ability in art was fostered by lessons from a local artist and later by a year at the Maidenhead Technical Institute. In 1908 he went to the Slade School and gained several prizes as well as the nickname "Cookham" because he talked so much about the village and returned home there every night.
- 1891: Born 30 June, Cookham-on-Thames, eighth surviving child of Anna and William Spencer, organist and piano teacher. Brother, Gilbert Spencer RA, born 1892
- 1907: Studied art at Maidenhead Technical Institute
- 1908-12: Student at the Slade School of Art under Tonks.
- 1912: Exhibited in Roger Fry's Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition, Grafton Galleries.
- 1915-18: Enlisted RAMC.
- 1915: Stationed Beaufort War Hospital. Posted to Macedonia.
- 1925: Married Hilda Carline; two daughters, Shirin and Unity.
- 1926-30: Murals, based on wartime experiences in Bristol and Macedonia.
- 1927: First one-man exhibition at Goupil Gallery.
- 1932: Elected ARA.
- 1935: Resigned from Royal Academy after rejection of two paintings by hanging committee.
- 1937: Divorced by Hilda. Married Patricia Preece four days later, but separated almost immediately.
- 1940: Commissioned to paint picture of shipyards by War Artists' Advisory Committee.
- 1946: Finished Shipbuilding on the Clyde series.
- 1945-50: Painted Port Glasgow Resurrection series.
- 1950: Awarded CBE; rejoined Royal Academy & elected RA.
- 1955: Retrospective exhibition, Tate Gallery.
- 1958: Retrospective exhibition: Cookham Church and Vicarage.
- 1959: Knighted June.
- Died on 14 December 1959 at Canadian War Memorial Hospital, Cliveden.
Article By: Dave Roberts.
First Published: 2007.
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