Sir Stanley Spencer The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon 1921

Artwork details

Artist
Sir Stanley Spencer 1891–1959
Title
The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon
Date 1921
Medium Oil paint on paper on board
Dimensions Support: 622 x 559 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1942
Reference
N05321
Not on display

Catalogue entry

N05321 THE SWORD OF THE LORD AND OF GIDEON 1922–3

Not inscribed.
Oil on paper stuck to cardboard, 24 1/2×22 (62·25×56), with insertion 8 1/2×17 7/8 (21·5×45·5) extending along the top from the right-hand side.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1942.
Coll.: Lady (then Mrs) Spencer, from whom purchased by the Leicester Galleries; acquired by the C.A.S. from the Leicester Galleries April 1941.
Lit: Wilenski, 1924, pp.21–3, repr. pl.16.

Painted 1922–3 whilst staying with Henry Lamb at Poole, although Wilenski (op. cit., p.22) records that it dates from 1921 and speaks of it as stemming largely from Spencer's war paintings. The subject, however, continues the artist's pre-war interest in the Old Testament stories and is inspired by the seventh book of Judges, wherein is described the defeat of the Midianites by Gideon, particularly verses 19–21: ‘So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp, in the beginning of the middle watch;... and the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

About this artwork