Stanley Spencer: This green and pleasant land Stanley Spencer saw the common English garden in a warm and sensuous light that even war could not destroy. National identities even became associated with types of gardens. Expo 58. Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. Figure 8: Stanley Spencer, Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem (c. 1920), oil on canvas, 114.2x144.8 cm, Leeds Art Gallery, https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/christs-entry-into-jerusalem-37832, last accessed 1 November 2019. We can also think of Francis Bacon’s paintings of spilling out flesh. Although he often had to do so as a potboiler, he did enjoy sitting out painting in the open watching and relishing the view. 15Stanley Spencer’s strong link with the “English” landscape is particularly obvious in his desire to be called “Cookham”, the name of his Berkshire native village. The paintings of cottages, farmhouses, moors, woods, fields, Thames Valley sites, and villages snugly tucked away down hillsides, are rendered in a highly detailed realistic manner which was a favorite of collectors, who enjoyed these less controversial and disturbing subjects. Two very different modes of landscape painting can be descried. Deeply “eccentric” in inspiration, he was also deeply of his nation in his love for fine landscapes, which he painted and rendered unto his fellow countrymen for keeps, in celebration of: This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle. The idealized vision of an English village and its cottages promoted by, was after all re-captured in such popular productions as twentieth and twenty-first centuries TV series such as, The Berhends who commissioned the memorial chapel in Burghclere, and bought quite a lot of Spencer’s landscapes—which were familiar to them—belong to this rural part of moneyed society close to the eighteenth-century gentry, who enjoyed residing in their fine country houses far from “the madding crowd”. Land-scape—the English language can offer multiple declensions of the term as in sea-scape, in-scape town/city-scape, photo-scape—designates a limited view cut off from an unlimited space. Looking at things […] looking at things, as I said, both historically and culturally—and also scientifically. The background landscape of Love on the Moor [fig. It embodied his desire for fusion with people, places, objects, landscapes or animals and is part of his pantheistic-like vision. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/20289. Very surprising when compared with what at times reflects the ferociousness and violence if not of the subjects, at least of the deformations the figures are subjected to, is the other part of his production dedicated to landscapes, flowers, and still life paintings. or is there another England green and eternal, which will outlast them? One of the flaps of it reads: Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) is one of the outstanding painters of the twentieth century. Although he often had to do so as a potboiler, he did enjoy sitting out painting in the open, watching and relishing the view. The title of. ] Looking forward to the…to the …, Spencer’s paintings sold quite well and thus in their turn can be said to have contributed to the construction of the national myth of British identity. It is also a shared space, that of a community, and it works as a cultural construction answering Kenneth Olwig’s attempt at a redefinition of it as “the substantive meaning of landscape as a place of human habitation and environmental interaction” (Olwig 630). 11The Resurrection, Cookham [fig. Spencer’s landscape “production” is complex and paradoxical. Forster, E.M. Abinger Harvest (1934). Landscape, Cookham Dean, Berkshire c.1939 Stanley Spencer (1891–1959) Landscape, Cookham Dean, Berkshire c.1939 Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery Portrait of Daphne Charlton 1941 Stanley Spencer (1891–1959) This item is part of a JSTOR Collection. Quite a number of his paintings were bought by The Tate Gallery and can be seen there nowadays. Looking for more? 1Some thirty years ago I was taken to Cookham by friends and visited the Spencer Gallery and the site of The Resurrection. 28The idealized vision of an English village and its cottages promoted by Country Life was after all re-captured in such popular productions as twentieth and twenty-first centuries TV series such as the Miss Marple series, Downton Abbey or Midsomer Murders. 27So, surprisingly this paradoxical “eccentric” artist has been recognized as typically English (and eventually British), that is one belonging to the centre and the establishment as opposed to the margin as the word “eccentric” suggests. Houses and bungalows, hotels, restaurants, and flats, arterial roads, by-passes, petrol pumps and pylons—are these going to be England? A fact which has not escaped Jonathan Coe in Expo 58 when he whimsically focuses on the pub to be lodged in the British Pavilion in the Brussels World Fair. The village of Cookham in Berkshire is in itself a lovely part of England, South of London, in the Maidenhead area, as idyllic and idealized as some of Spencer’s own paintings. We’re trying to look back, of course, on our rich and varied history; but we’re also trying to look forward. A landscape is man-made, the result of man’s action, so a countryside is not “natural” at all. Painted in April 1940. Find more prominent pieces of landscape at Wikiart.org – best visual art database. Deeply “eccentric” in inspiration, he was also deeply of his nation in his love for fine landscapes, which he painted and rendered unto his fellow countrymen for keeps, in celebration of: This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,This other Eden, demi-paradise,This fortress built by Nature for herselfAgainst infection and the hand of war,This happy breed of men, this little world,This precious stone set in the silver sea… (Richard II, Act II, scene 1). 30The English village and the Thames Valley area which Stanley Spencer kept close to his heart and painted all his life, and which he practically never left—except during the wars and for the occasional trip abroad with friends—pervaded even his “figure paintings”. His ambivalence was perceptible when he wrote: “I want to make love to everything at the same moment and yet be traditional” (Spencer 215, August 1943). in May 1933, he complained to Dudley Tooth, his gallery dealer: “As I feared everyone as usual wants my landscapes […] I am very sorry that public galleries are taking [them] as being representative works of mine” (Stanley Spencer to Dudley Tooth, letter dated 12 June 1933 [Tooth Collection], quoted in Bell 278). As if putting under our own eyes our worst nightmares, those of another suppressed world appearing in a. light, with the texture of their clothes seen under a microscope. Liliane Louvel est professeur émérite de littérature britannique à l’université de Poitiers. On the one hand, Spencer is tied to the (national and artistic) past, which he celebrates and recreates although at times unwillingly, on the other hand his figure production is singular and original. , undated cutting, anon.,126.96.36.199 [Tate Gallery Archives Stanley Spencer collection]). D’autre part, des paysages, des fleurs, des natures mortes, sont peints sans figures. offers a fascinating double portrait set against a window opening onto a churchyard looming in the background in the most uncanny way. It embodied his desire for fusion with people, places, objects, landscapes or animals and is part of his pantheistic-like vision. actually points to a sight which encloses an expanse of land visible to one’s eye. in a most striking way. (Coe 6). After examining Hoe Garden Nursery in some detail, I consider Spencer's preoccupation with two themes, both of which seem central to all his commissioned landscape work: the enclosure of landscape and the importance given to the small, intimate spaces of the garden. This “unevenness between the two types of subject-matter left Spencer feeling “dubious of myself altogether” as he felt that both should move him equally.4. The seemingly apparent paradox of this divided production reflects the artist’s makeup and his own private division between his own self and his “other selves”, as he himself called them. split into two distinct styles but it was also appreciated by two very different sets of art lovers: the art critics mostly commented on and took issue with his figure paintings while the public at large bought his landscapes. 14Cookham (and later for a time Wangford following his disastrous second marriage to Patricia Preece) was a place he inhabited but which also haunted him all his life. Quite a number of his paintings were bought by The Tate Gallery and can be seen there nowadays. In Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem [fig. Spencer was skilled at organising multi-figure compo… An exhibition of his work was held in 1980 at the Royal Academy and then a retrospective in 1997 in Washington DC under the title Stanley Spencer: An English Vision (1997) organized by the Hirshborn Museum and Sculpture Garden. (Forster 384)5. Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. Posted By: GenealogyBuff Date: Monday, 1 March 2010, at 5:50 p.m. Grady W. Morgan DELTON, Mich. — Grady W. Morgan, 79, died Oct. 5, 2000, at home. Although he often had to do so as a potboiler, he did enjoy sitting out painting in the open watching and relishing the view. Gaston County, North Carolina Obituary Collection. They also corresponded to a renewal of interest in the English garden. in a most striking way. In the beautiful gardens and landscapes he painted which were so popular and admired as truly English, some uncanny element may be descried: huge squat massive jars, too brilliant colours, gardens overrun with vegetation gone wild smothering houses, iron scraps left to rust, strange twiglike distorted tree limbs, a bowl of captive fish solitary left on flags in front of boats, an unexpected leg of mutton in a nude painting of Patricia Preece [fig. They, are clearly visible in the background together with graves, crosses, flowers, trees, the church porch, grass and landscape at the back. https://www.wikiart.org/en/lucian-freud/factory-in-north-london, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-my-parents-t03255. This is the case with Swan Upping at Cookham [fig. Paris : Flammarion, 1993. Two very different modes of landscape painting can be descried. Liliane Louvel, « Changing/Unchanging Landscapes: Stanley Spencer’s “Peculiarly English” Landscapes », Polysèmes [En ligne], 22 | 2019, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2019, consulté le 21 janvier 2021. Tout d’abord, Cookham, la Tamise, le village, le cimetière visible dans la célèbre Résurrection conservée à la Tate, fournissent l’arrière-plan de ses figures d’imagination « distordues » et fiévreuses. (Serres 56). Time and History have prevailed in shaping them, which is something we can hear in the, . 10] in which a long frieze depicts men and women of all ethnic origins engaged in embracing, kissing, talking, etc. One of his most famous series, commemorating the First World War, painted on the walls of the Burghlere Memorial, was presented to the National Trust by its owners Mr and Mrs Behrend in 1947, when the artist was still alive. —the media embodiment of this nostalgic evocation of Edwardian England that modern British TV viewers enjoyed so much—was shot. He was the younger brother of the painter Stanley Spencer https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/spencer-st-francis-and-the-birds-t00961. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/spencer-zacharias-and-elizabeth-t07486. With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free. Like many of Spencer's garden landscape paintings, Hoe Garden Nursery appears to be a rather mundane composition. Visiting the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa near Nice, one can discover nine ravishing “national” gardens: beyond the English and the French gardens, the Italian, the Japanese, Provence gardens to quote but a few, display their colours, lines and recognizable patterns and schemes. “Peculiarly English”: the expression is used by a commentator in The Scotsman (9 February 1929) à propos the group of painters Spencer belonged to with his brother Gilbert, Carline, Nash, Lamb etc. I would never have dreamt of doing the same with one of what he called his “figure paintings”, first and foremost his Resurrection. 9Although the landscapes in the background are often recognizable as Cookham or the Cookham area, their pictorial treatment contributes to the oneiric quality of the paintings. For Michel Serres: L’ancien état de nos travaux revient dans le nouveau. A fact which also might explain why they were so popular and sold well. A fact which has not escaped Jonathan Coe in. For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions On the other hand, he also sold a lot of landscape paintings celebrating the English garden: a type of figureless rural English landscape.2 It is this apparent paradox I will try to explore and look into. Actually, Burghclere stands next to Highclere where Downton Abbey—the media embodiment of this nostalgic evocation of Edwardian England that modern British TV viewers enjoyed so much—was shot. For example, in May 2020, Cecily Brown’s Figures in a Landscape I (2001) sold for $5.5 million via Gagosian. Critics found such traditional “English” landscapes reassuring after all in front of Fry’s, Bell’s, Grant’s and other Modernist painters’ works and experiments which seemed much too European-oriented. Spencer’s landscape “production” is paradoxical, in the sense that it goes against the grain, against. This is Spencer’s first self-portrait in oil paint, made when he was around 23 years old. Le mot latin pagus désignait le champ que l’agriculteur labourait : terme si ancien et vénérable que le paganisme des païens, comme le paysage d’un pays, modelé patiemment par les paysans, lui empruntèrent tous cinq leur nom, religieux ou culturel. See Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, “The Pageant of Abinger”, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/948/, last accessed 14 November 2019. Sir Stanley Spencer, R.A. (1891-1959) Cottage Garden, Leonard Stanley oil on canvas 20 x 30 in. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River … English artist Sir Stanley Spencer spent the summer of 1940 hard at work, intent on painting artworks which would attract critics and collectors alike. I bought some reproductions of his landscapes printed on small wood panels. Laurence Petit, ed. New York: Basic Books, 2016. Je m’attacherai à observer les deux manières de paysages de Spencer et j’analyserai dans quelle mesure ses paysages participèrent d’une aspiration toute nostalgique à un monde qui disparaissait rapidement. This was also attuned to the English Heritage series in 1929 broadcast by the BBC and devoted to the “national character”, and the taste for “the cultural cottage” (Osbert Lancaster). I conclude the paper with a discussion of national cultural debates in the 1950s, and particularly those relating to the emergence of gardening as a dominant social activity and the 'spirit' of urban reconstruction, which I believe Spencer makes reference to in the painting. A parallel Michel Serres comments on when he sees a lineage between the French words, . Looking forward to the…to the …, “To the future?” Mr. Ellis suggested. 16]. He loves to paint nettles and grasses leaf by leaf, blade by blade, as they did. Ecological Landscape Design and Planning. The English retained pagan, paganism, page, peasant, but not paysage. Thus, the publisher Norton acknowledges the British quality of the painting and its subject, but it also cleverly promotes one of the close-to-cubism or Gauguin-inspired pictures by Stanley Spencer in keeping with modernism and its literature. Stanley Spencer: Rooted in an English landscape Mark Hudson sees the ordinary garden afresh at a new exhibition of Stanley Spencer’s paintings Article by The Telegraph 1]1, or of the 1838 Fighting Téméraire Tugged to her last Berth to be Broken up [fig. Figure 9: Stanley Spencer, Crucifixion (1958), oil on canvas, https://www.wikiart.org/en/stanley-spencer/the-crucifixion-1958s, last accessed 1 November 2019. , when we realize that he painted two very different kinds of landscapes. The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House 1918-1939. Paula Rego’s disjointed fairy-tale characters also come to mind and are to a certain extent reminiscent of Spencer. Figure 6: Stanley Spencer, Adoration of Old Men (1937), oil on canvas, 90.6x110.5 cm, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/adoration-of-old-men-81495, last accessed 1 November 2019. 18Spencer’s landscape paintings were painted in the manner resembling that of the Pre-Raphaelites (with a lot of details and brilliant colours as well as a very present foreground seen at close range), a fact widely acknowledged by critics of the time. This was the very type of village used during the Second World War for propaganda aiming at defending the country and rallying people’s national feeling. 23], could compare with Mr and Mrs Baggett [fig. Gaston County, North Carolina Obituary Collection - 523. Their light is silver English light. They have a strong foreground which in the case of Spencer acted as a kind of frame but also as a barrier obstructing vision, forcing the eye to make the effort of going beyond the often highly detailed obstacle, foliage or hedge. In the painting representing Patricia Preece in the nude, the leg of mutton quaintly appears as reminiscent of the estranged Hilda. … In 2018, the Tate Gallery dedicated an exhibition entitled All Too Human to Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Paula Rego, among others. Toute sa vie, il peignit des paysages de campagne. This was the very type of village used during the Second World War for propaganda aiming at defending the country and rallying people’s national feeling. 7]. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. https://www.artuk.org/discover/artworks/love-on-the-moor-4600. The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) bought, ] in 1930 at the Goupil Salon, quite a number of his paintings are kept in The Ferens Gallery in Hull. 6], or Unveiling the Cookham War Memorial [fig. Literary equivalents could be found in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and E.M. Forster’s disparaging of buildings and cities, hailing an ideal England in Abinger Harvest: Houses, houses, houses! These were often the result of commissions. 20Writing about Cottages at Burghclere [fig. They are reminiscent of the Pre-Raphaelites’ manner (with a lot of details and brilliant colours). It gave pride of place to a peaceful valley softly unrolling beneath the eye in tones of yellow and green. The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House 1918-1939, Stanley Spencer’s Exceptional Turn: Self-portraits and Double Portraits, L’immobilité vive, ou « une petite étoile à la vitre du texte », Intense Immobility or “a Small Star on the Window Pane of the Text”, Tours et retournements du « moment ekphrastique » : histoires de rideaux, de mousseline et de frêles voiles de chair, De quelques problèmes théoriques : marges et cadres. 25Spencer slowly became a national artist acknowledged as such. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86.4 (December 1996): 630-653. 22] or Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy [fig. ‘Landscape. Read Online (Free) relies on page scans, which are not currently available to screen readers. 19The paintings of cottages, farmhouses, moors, woods, fields, Thames Valley sites, and villages snugly tucked away down hillsides, are rendered in a highly detailed realistic manner which was a favorite of collectors, who enjoyed these less controversial and disturbing subjects. Thus, the pub and its name evoke past memories under the aegis of one of the British people’s favourite places. Figure 18: Stanley Spencer, Double Nude Portrait: The Artist and his Second Wife (The Leg of Mutton Nude) (1937), 91.5x93.5 cm, oil on canvas, Tate Modern, London, https://www.wikiart.org/en/stanley-spencer/double-nude-portrait-the-artist-and-his-second-wife-the-leg-of-mutton-nude-1937, last accessed 1 November 2019. Like many of Spencer's garden landscape paintings, Hoe Garden Nursery appears to be a This obsession of his enabled him to combine his private (religious) vision and his taste for landscape, a grim one in this instance. La coupure et le cerne, Contemporary Victoriana - Women and Parody, Portail de ressources électroniques en sciences humaines et sociales. This is the true instance of a fight between a much-loved tradition and the need to emancipate oneself from it while following one’s own aesthetic choices and vision rendering. First, Cookham, the Thames, the village, its churchyard, such as in the famous Tate, , provide the backdrop for his favourite imaginative “distorted” figure paintings. Figure 21: Lucian Freud, Factory in North London (1972), oil on canvas, 71x71 cm, private collection, https://www.wikiart.org/en/lucian-freud/factory-in-north-london, last accessed 1 November 2019. He even drew up a family tree of his different selves (Spencer 215) and acknowledged his “conflicting wants” (Spencer 225). https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/spencer-the-resurrection-cookham-n04239. Spencer referred to Cookham as "a village in Heaven" and in his biblical scenes, fellow-villagers are shown as their Gospel counterparts. ], all partaking of conversation pieces opening onto windows. A landscape then is the result of a visual operation and corresponds to a scenic concept. The paintings of cottages, moors, Thames valley sites, villages tucked down hillsides, are rendered in a highly detailed realistic manner, a favourite of collectors’. Bell’s comprehensive complete Catalogue was published by Phaidon in 1992. London: Penguin Books, 2013. is set in such surroundings with the country house standing in the background. Also see Matless. Traditional historians rely on man's written & drawn records to interpret past progress & myths. Yet he was far from parochial, and woven into Duncan Robinson's account of the artist's career is a just appreciation of his greatness and of his place in the wider context of European art. (1997) organized by the Hirshborn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Betrayal Stanley Spencer • 1914 Zacharias and Elizabeth Stanley Spencer • 1914 Mending Cowls, Cookham Stanley Spencer • 1915 A parallel Michel Serres comments on when he sees a lineage between the French words paganisme, païen, paysage, pays, paysan and then page. Strikingly too some of David Hockney’s portraits, like the portrait of his parents [fig. I remember there was the fascinating, , which hung at home for some time before being discoloured and taken away. London: Tate Publishing, 2001. On peut distinguer dans son œuvre deux façons très différentes de peindre le paysage. Karen Jacobs, Ashgate, 2011) et The Pictorial Third: An Essay into Intermedial Criticism (Routledge, 2018). La série d’émissions de la BBC diffusées en 1929, dédiée au « caractère national », reflétait le goût pour le « cottage culturel » selon Osbert Lancaster. Distorted figures full of angst and fervour often set against strange backgrounds two about!, objects, landscapes or animals and is part of his still lifes refer our! His parents [ for free came into view like in Love Among the Nations [ fig paysages des! Compare Spencer ’ s landscape “ production ” is complex and paradoxical sales and! Modes of landscape ” RA ( 30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959 ) was an English.. In shaping them, which is of course an extremely anthropomorphic definition sight. Between the French words, conflict of times and a kind of anachronism,! Models but their painterly treatment was also the case when Spencer ’ s portraits, the... I remember there was the fascinating,, which is typically “ cookhamesque ” sales History Zestimate... Even went as far as signing his letters with: “ Love from Cookham (. 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