Promenade of People, c.1939

by Stanley Spencer

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 4.5 x 15.5 in./ 11.4 x 39.4 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed lower left
MEDIUM: Pencil on paper

Catalogue No: 3554 Categories: ,

This drawing is a study for a larger painting, of which the artist did many. Rather than using particular models, Spencer preferred to work form his imagination and he would often make his preliminary sketches on loo paper. Apart from the low cost, another reason why the loo paper appealed to spencer was its length. The artist would often work in long horizontal sections, placing his characters alongside one another and in a style that is akin to the didactic work that adorned his beloved Church walls in Cookham.

Provenance

Private Collection, United States

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Biography

Stanley Spencer is an internationally regarded artist, best known, and loved, for his paintings that fuse everyday life with religious themes. His works concentrate on descriptive detail, incident and anecdote, which combined with his visionary and imaginative spiritualism make manifest the sacred in the everyday.

Spencer was a devout Christian, and his faith defined both the subjects of his paintings and their stylistic treatment. In large-scale paintings intended to recall religious frescos or altarpieces, Spencer depicted incidents inspired by the Bible. The scenes and events were however transferred to the familiar setting of Cookham, the Berkshire village on the banks of the River Thames in which he had lived since a child, and other close-knit communities such as the Clyde shipbuilders of Glasgow. Through his art he sought to discover the sacred in the daily lives of ordinary working British people and to show that all parts of life are touched by spirituality.

He studied at the Slade School of Art in London, before moving back to Cookham where he grew up and spent much of his life. While his style progressed and developed over the course of his prolific career, his attention to detail remained a constant and defines his large and varied body of work. In the last decade of his life, Spencer was awarded the CBE and elected Royal Academician, before dying of cancer in 1959.