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Spencer remained a dominant figure in British painting even towards the end of his life. Many of his works, including Dinner on the Hotel Lawn, are set in his native village of Cookham in Berkshire. This painting belongs to a series, begun in 1952, based on his memories of the Cookham Regatta in Edwardian days. Spencer imagined Cookham as a church building: ‘The Village Street of Cookham was to be the Nave and the river which runs behind the street was a side aisle’. He later commented of the Regatta pictures ‘I seem to have forgotten about the food’, which seems particularly strange in this depiction of an outdoor meal.

July 2007