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21st September 2022

Neatly tied onions with burnished skins and hung up to dry in a suburban back garden greenhouse in the fabulously detailed Greenhouse and Garden (1937, Ferens Art Gallery) by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959). This is a view through the door of the greenhouse at 'Lindworth', Spencer's Cookham home, and is one of a group of pictures of flowers, gardens, and views of Cookham, painted between 1932 and 1938, all of which he called 'landscapes'. He referred to these paintings disparagingly as 'pot boilers' because they sold so easily (and helped him survive financially); ironically, these 'pot boilers' are now worth a great deal.  Cookham, its gardens, houses, public spaces and river provided everyday subjects for Spencer who captured both the ordinariness and beauty of his beloved village. The Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham has an exhibition entitled 'Delight in Nature; Stanley Spencer's World' until the end of October which traces the influence of the natural world on Spencer's development as an artist.

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