The 125th anniversary of Stanley Spencer's birth.

Sandham, first world war, art,

2016 marks the 125th anniversary year of Stanley Spencer's birth with a celebration of this great British artist.

Stanley Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire, on 30 June 1891. Today, Spencer is arguably one of the world’s most important twentieth century artists, and the paintings here at Sandham Memorial Chapel are probably his greatest achievement.  

In this 125th anniversary year, we’re celebrating Spencer’s life and work along with several other organisations.

Find out more about the artist and Sandham Memorial Chapel in this new article.

On 17 September we’re holding our inaugural concert to launch our programme of music. We are delighted to be welcoming professional musicians Theresa Caudle, baroque violin, and Alastair Ross, harpsichord for an evening of baroque music featuring one of Spencer's favourite composers, Bach.

" Like Angels shrieking with joy"
- Stanley Spencer on hearing J. S. Bach's St Anne Prelude and Fugue and being asked what is sounded like

The programme will start with Corelli's Sonata 1 in D major Opus 5, followed by Handel's Chaconne in G Major HWV 435 and Sonata 10 in G minor Opus 1. Following the interval will be Bach's Italian Concerto in F BWV 971, and Sonata 3 in E major BWV 106.

For booking information please click here.

Baroque concert performers Theresa Caudle and Alastair Ross
Sandham baroque concert performers
Baroque concert performers Theresa Caudle and Alastair Ross

The Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, set up following Stanley's death in 1959 as a memorial to him and his work, is hosting a new exhibition as part of its year-long Spencer programme. Stanley Spencer: Visionary Painter of the Natural World is described as ‘Glorious paintings of the natural world, exploring Spencer’s consummate skill in a series of exquisitely executed floral compositions, garden vistas and landscapes. Figurative and spiritual scenes amongst these wonderful paintings movingly remind us of Spencer’s visionary leanings.’ 

At the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire you’ll find the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in 15 years. Stanley Spencer : Of Angels and Dirt brings together over 70 works spanning Spencer’s entire career, including rarely-seen self-portraits and extracts from his diaries and writings offering a unique insight into his life and work

The anniversary also sees the launch of a number of new books. Perhaps the most exciting and certainly the most long-awaited is Stanley's autobiography, volume one of which is due out in September. Stanley Spencer: Looking to Heaven covers his early period, the First World War and up to Spencer’s first meeting with Hilda Carline, his first wife. 

Nigel Rapport’s new book, Distortion and Love: An Anthropological Reading of the Art and Life of Stanley Spencer, develops a theory of ‘distortion’ by way of Stanley's art and public reaction to it.