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The subject of this painting was given to Spencer by his teachers at the Slade School of Art. The scene was suggested by a spot on Odney Common, in his native village of Cookham.

Spencer wrote of the painting: ‘There is no symbolic meaning whatsoever intended in Apple Gatherers and I cannot account for the fact I have divided the sexes.’ The distortions of form and scale show Spencer’s interest in paintings he had seen in London by the French Post-Impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin.

September 2004