Stanley Spencer's visionary paintings
This modest red-brick building tucked away in a quiet corner of Hampshire houses an unexpected treasure – an epic series of large-scale murals, by the acclaimed war artist Sir Stanley Spencer.
Sandham Memorial Chapel houses what is arguably the most important series of paintings by the Modern British artist, Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959). The chapel is a temple to the genius of Spencer, who wanted to express in paint his military experience during the Great War.
His nineteen canvases, which took six years to complete, are unique in that they depict everyday routine rather than the horror of combat. His initial posting as a medical orderly at Beaufort Hospital in Bristol instilled in him a sense that the everyday and the menial could bring him closer to God. His wartime service took him to Macedonia where he continued service as a medical orderly and later as an infantryman.
The chapel, which was inspired by Giotto’s Arena Chapel in Padua, was paid for by the patrons and collectors John Louis and Mary Behrend, who later dedicated the chapel to Mary Behrend’s brother, Harry Sandham, who had died in 1920, shortly after returning from active service.
The chapel holds services throughout the year, the most important of these being the annual Remembrance Day event.
Please be aware that the chapel can only accommodate 25 people at a time, It is essential that groups pre-book their visit by calling 01635 278394. Group visits are normally held on days when the chapel is closed to general visitors.