Stanley Spencer

 27 June 2021 |

In our house we are enthusiasts for Michael Portillo’s railway journeys. He visits a huge array of places around the UK and elsewhere in the world and often has interesting interviews with a range of people from factory managers to museum curators and much else. The recent programme had him visiting Cuckham in Berkshire were he met the curator of the Stanley Spencer Art Gallery. Stanley was born and bred in Cuckham and when an art student in London he commuted daily so he could continue to live at home with his large family of siblings .This led his fellow students to call him Cuckham. He and his family were Methodists and their faith was central to life. Father would nightly read from the Bible which gave Stanley a rich background for his paintings. His work is displayed in the art gallery which is housed in the former Methodist church where Stanley and his family had spent much of their time.

Michael Portillo asked the curator to show him a painting which related to his Christian faith. She showed him a painting about the Centurion’s son in which Stanley painted himself in bed as the sick child with 3 of his siblings kneeling beside the bed. An interesting portrayal of a familiar story linking a familiar Bible story with his Cuckham life. Stanley was enlisted during the 2nd World War but returned to Cuckham and that is where he is buried in the church yard.

Jill Pipe