Sir Stanley Spencer

Farm Pond, Leonard Stanley


Not on display

Sir Stanley Spencer 1891–1959
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 610 × 914 mm
frame: 745 × 1050 × 85 mm
Presented through the Friends of the Tate Gallery, Helena and Kenneth Levy Bequest 1990

Display caption

In 1939 Spencer moved into the White Hart Inn in the village of Leonard Stanley in Gloucestershire. This is one of at least five landscapes he painted while staying there with his friends the Slade painters George and Daphne Charlton, with whom he stayed for long periods between 1939-41. In the late 1930s, Spencer, painted numerous subjects out of doors, these being more popular at the time than his figure studies. The situation was to change shortly afterwards when he began to work on a major commission at the Port Glasgow Shipyards, as an Official War Artist in the Second World War.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Technique and condition

Painted in oil colours on a commercially prepared, stretched, linen canvas with a white oil ground. There are traces of graphite pencil marks around the edges which relate to a squaring up process. The composition has also been carefully drawn out in pencil which is visible in areas such as the middle distance.

The paint has generally been applied in one layer conforming to the discrete shapes of the drawn image. The paint is of moderate thickness, in most areas it has been applied stiffly enough to retain brushmarks and fine impastoes. Certain areas were reworked by the artist at a later date. The newer paint appears less discoloured and less textured. Under ultra violet light examination, white artist's retouchings in the sky fluoresce very strongly in comparison with the older white paint. This suggests that Spencer has used different white pigments at the two stages of work, possibly zinc white over lead white. There is a general coating of a natural resin varnish over the picture. This has slightly yellowed but is in good condition.

The painting is in good condition. It was surface cleaned and its frame was improved on acquisition in 1990.

Lucy Pearce

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