Sir Stanley Spencer

Study for ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’


Not on display

Sir Stanley Spencer 1891–1959
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 441 × 356 mm
Presented by Mrs Nancy Carline in memory of her husband Richard Carline 1982

Catalogue entry


Not inscribed
Pencil and watercolour on paper, 17 3/8 × 14 (44.2 × 35.5), squared for transfer
Presented by Mrs Nancy Carline in memory of Richard Carline 1982
Prov: Given to Richard Carline by the artist after his first exhibition at the Goupil Gallery, 1927; Nancy Carline, widow of Richard Carline
Exh: The Resurrection, and Other Works by Stanley Spencer, Goupil Gallery, February–March 1927 (15); Drawings by Stanley Spencer, Museum and Art Gallery, Brighouse, January–February 1954 and subsequent tour to Chapel Barr Art Gallery, Nottinghamshire, Luton, Plymouth, Bristol and Bedford Art Galleries (15); Drawings by Stanley Spencer CBE, RA, Arts Council Gallery, November–December 1955 (25); Sir Stanley Spencer CBE, RA, City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth, July–August 1963 (62); Paintings 1914–1924, South London Art Gallery, May–June 1974 (112); Stanley Spencer 1891–1959, Arts Council exhibition, Brighton Art Gallery, July–August 1976 and subsequent tour to Glasgow and Leeds Art Galleries and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (55, repr.); Stanley Spencer RA, RA, September–December 1980 (44, repr.)
Lit: Richard Carline, Stanley Spencer at War, 1978, pp.125, 126, 209,; Keith Bell, catalogue of the Spencer RA exhibition, 1980, pp.61 and 62

This drawing is the final sketch for ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’ 1920 (Tate Gallery, N04117) in which the event is shown as occurring outside ‘Fernlea’ the house occupied by Spencer's parents, where the artist was brought up.

According to Keith Bell (op.cit.) at least two other studies besides the present drawing exist, an early study from the collection of the late W.A. Evill and another in the Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham. In the Evill drawing the house is depicted as seen almost straight on, and the cross and the four figures carrying it are parallel to the house and the hedge in front of it. The study belonging to the Stanley Spencer Gallery is similar to this in composition, but with a tree and a house added on the right. In T03336, which is close to the oil painting in design, the house is seen from a diagonal viewpoint and the composition includes a group of onlookers and two men carrying ladders.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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