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Biography for Sir Stanley Spencer

Nationality:British
Born:1891-06-30 - Cookham, Berkshire, England
Died:1959-12-14 - Canadian War Memorial Hospital, Cliveden, Berkshir

Education

He received his early education at a school run by his sisters and was given his first painting lessons by the artist Dorothy Bailey. In 1907 Spencer entered Maidenhead Technical College where he began to train as an artist and in circa 1907-08 he entered the Slade School of Art.

Awards

Spencer was awarded the CBE in 1950 and became an elected Royal Academician in the same year. In 1958 he was given a Knighthood and was elected an Associate of the Royal College of Art.

Travels

Spencer visited Yugoslavia on a painting holiday in 1922, Switzerland in 1933 and China in 1954 where he painted the Ming Tombs.

Employment

Whilst at the Slade School of Art his contemporaries included C R W Nevinson (1889-1946), David Bomberg (1890-1957) and Paul Nash (1889-1946). He returned home to Cookham to paint from 1912 before enlisting in the Royal Army Medical Corps three years later, subsequently working as an orderly at Beaufort Hospital, Bristol from July 1915. In August 1916 he was posted to Macedonia before joining the Infantry in August 1917.From 1921-22 Spencer stayed with the artist Murhead Bone (1876-1953) in Hampshire where he was asked to design a war memorial. The memorial was never built but Spencer was inspired to design the remarkable building and decoration of the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere, Hampshire which he completed in 1932.He moved back to Lindworth, Cookham in 1932 and became an Associate of the Royal Academy, exhibiting at the Venice Biennale but resigned in 1935 after 2 works, 'St Francis and the Birds' and 'The Dustman' were rejected by the hanging committee. He exhibited again at the Venice Biennale in 1938 showing 22 paintings.
In 1939 Spencer stayed at the White hart Inn, Leonard Stanley, Gloucestershire with George and Daphne Charlton who he began an affair with but when he was commissioned to paint scenes of shipbuilding at Lithgow's yard, Port Glasgow by the War Artists' Advisory Committee in 1940 he moved on. In 1942 he returned to Cookham but continued to visit Port Glasgow to paint, working on his 'The Resurrection, Port Glasgow' until 1950. In the same year he rejoined the Royal Academy as an elected RA. In 1955 a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Tate Gallery and three years later he was given a Knighthood.

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