LONDON - As the seasons now begin to change, and the luscious leafy greens give way to the deep and varied subtle palette of burnt yellows and deep maroon reds, one can’t help but fall back in love with the English landscape. The English landscape was, for Stanley Spencer, an ongoing passion, and together with his still life compositions form some of the most popular works within the artist’s output.
Stanley Spencer’s Greenhouse Interior (circa 1935). Estimate £180,000–250,000. Modern & Post-War British Art, 18 November 2014.
Greenhouse Interior is a wonderful example of Spencer’s love of nature, and in particular the junction between man and natural world, within the setting of the greenhouse (which was a popular location for his paintings. Appearing for the first time at auction, it was bought by the pioneering supporter of the Manchester Art Gallery, Margaret Pilkington herself a talented artist that had trained (like Spencer) at the prestigious Slade School, and believed that art should be made accessible to people from all social backgrounds. In early 2015 the Whitworth Art Gallery will play host to an exhibition that will include Spencer’s portrait of Margaret, commissioned in 1954 to celebrate her role as the first female director of a major UK gallery, alongside further important works, including Francis Bacon’s portrait of Lucien Freud.
For those not familiar with Spencer’s work, it is well worth a visit to his small home village of Cookham, which houses a small but perfectly formed gallery dedicated to their most famous resident. Here you will have a chance to see famous works from their own collection, and an impressive rotating display of works loaned to the museum from private collections.