Still Life of Flowers in a Vase (c.1950)
GILBERT SPENCER (1892-1979)
Oil on board; signed top right
In period frame
Gilbert Spencer was one of the most creamily English painters of the 20th Century. Indeed it is his depictions of English rural life, of farm crafts and village scenes together with the deeply-felt landscapes of his great friend (and best man) John Nash (1893-1977) that did so much to lend the nation the pastoral vision of home for which it would fight in the Second World War.
Born in Cookham-on-Thames in 1892, Spencer was the youngest of twelve children – his brother the great Sir Stanley Spencer CBE RA (1881-1959) was thirteen months his senior. He first attended the Ruskin School, Oxford before studying woodcarving at Camberwell School of Art from 1910–11. In 1913 he attended the Slade where he was awarded a life drawing prize in 1914. Following the Great War during which he served in Salonika and Egypt, Spencer’s painting was increasingly well received and he had a number of widely-acclaimed solo exhibitions during the 1930s. From 1934–36 he painted a series of murals for Balliol College, Oxford, and later served as an Official War Artist (1940–43). He became Professor of Painting at the Royal College of Art (1933–48); Head of Painting at Glasgow School of Art (1948–50); and Head of Painting at Camberwell School of Art (1950–57).
Gilbert Spencer’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price for this artist at auction is 52,740 USD for Man at a Sluice Gate on the Thames sold at Christie’s, London in 2018.