Stanley Spencer Self Portrait 1914
Stanley Spencer
Self Portrait 1914

1891 – Born 30 June in Cookham on Thames, Berkshire, the eighth of nine children of William Spencer, church organist and piano teacher, and his wife Anna. Educated at home by his sisters.

1907 – Began to study art at Maidenhead Technical Institute.

1908-12 – Attended Slade School of Art in London.

1912John Donne Arriving in Heaven included in Second Post-Impressionist exhibition in London.

1915-18 – Enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and worked as orderly at Beaufort War Hospital, near Bristol. Posted to Macedonia with the Field Ambulances in August 1916. Volunteered as infantryman in August 1917 and joined the 7th Battalion, the Royal Berkshires. Returned to Cookham in December 1918.

1920-1 – Lodged with Henry Slesser and his wife in Bourne End.

1922 – Accompanied the Carline family on a painting holiday to Yugoslavia. Became engaged to Hilda Carline, and moved to Hampstead.

1923 – Joined the artist Henry Lamb at Poole, Dorset for the summer. Began work on designs for Sandham Memorial Chapel.

1925 – Married Hilda. Their first daughter, Shirin, born in November.

1927-32 – First solo exhibition at Goupil Gallery, London. Moved to Burghclere in 1927, and began work on the Chapel, which he finished in 1932. Second daughter, Unity, born in May 1930.

1932 – Moved to ‘Lindworth’, a large house in Cookham. Began work on ‘Church-House’ idea. Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. Dudley Tooth became his sole agent.

1935 – Resigned from the RA after the rejection of The Dustman and other works from the Summer Exhibition.

1937 – Divorced by Hilda; married Patricia Preece. He never lived with her and the marriage was never consummated. Tried to win Hilda back. Began work on Beatitudes of Love series.

1938 – In financial difficulties, left Cookham and went to stay with the Rothensteins in London. Dudley Tooth took over managing his business affairs. Began Christ in the Wilderness series in bed-sit in Swiss Cottage.

1939-41 – Stayed at the White Hart Inn, Leonard Stanley, Gloucestershire, with George and Daphne Charlton. In March 1940 the War Artists Advisory Committee commissioned Spencer to paint the Port Glasgow shipyards, which occupied him until 1946. Goes to live in Epsom with his children. Moves back to Cookham.

1945 – Began The Resurrection, Port Glasgow series (1945-1950)

1950 – Sir Alfred Munnings initiated prosecution against Spencer for alleged obscenity. Reinstated as Royal Academician. Hilda died in November.

1954 – Visited China as a guest of the Chinese authorities.

1955 – Retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery.

1959 – Knighted. Died 14 December at the Canadian War Memorial Hospital, Clivenden, Berkshire.