Stanley Spencer 1942-1950
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- war artists archive
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In early 1942, Spencer was staying in Epsom but reported to Dickey that his landlady in Epsom was disapproving of him and he wished to return to Cookham, although he would have to rent the studio at his former home from his ex-wife, and consequently requested financial support with this arrangement. Once again, it was granted. The Committee going out of its way to help another artist, the quality of whose work more than compensated for his eccentricities. Continuing the previous file, this documents the work on the further pictures in the Shipbuilding series, administration of payments for studio and other expenses. Spencer was struggling financially and there are papers detailing these difficulties and looking for ways to help. In May 1942 the first instalment was delivered of the predella part of the series (Template'). Twelve portrait heads of Clydesiders' (LD 1621-32) were purchased in October 1942 for 5 guineas each. In June 1943, Spencer wrote of the difficulties he had been having with Bending the Keel Plate': (68), and the fact that he had begun drawing on the next canvas. It also includes two letters, misfiled here, from Gilbert Spencer, Stanley's brother, regarding his own WAAC commissions: both date from May 1942 and express Gilbert's desire to do further work for the Committee after a drawing has been positively received. He particularly proposed work relating to his experience in the Home Guard. However the picture was delivered in June 1943, after which he was to work on the predella (Spencer once again refused to sign any contract - 87). He discussed having made portrait drawings, although he gave away some to the sitters. Spencer made further visits to Glasgow even being granted a clothing allowance of £5 for one visit and by June 1944 had completed Riggers' purchased in August for 250 guineas - and was starting work on its companion piece, Plumbers'. Although Spencer felt that the Committee would want him to work on the large central panel for the scheme, he preferred to concentrate on the remainder of the long predella and Plumbers'. Another drawing of the scheme is at (115). 'Plumbers' was purchased in March 1945 for 250 guineas. Spencer had spent long continuous periods in Glasgow and there were queries over these expenses. Unfortunately, by this time the Committee did not have sufficient funds to authorise the completion of the whole scheme. Spencer proposed that he should be allowed to continue but with no obligation for the Committee to buy. At the time of the winding up of the Committee (by then under Muirhead Bone's chairmanship) the final picture for which money had been put aside, Furnaces', a smaller central section for the scheme, had not been delivered. It was finally purchased in March 1946, for 250 guineas. The rest of the file concerns photographic requests, and loan requests made to the Imperial War Museum.
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