The Stanley Spencer Gallery is a very special place for all generations...read more
The Stanley Spencer Gallery is a very special place for all generations of the family to enjoy. Devoted to the work of one of Britain's greatest twentieth century painters, Sir Stanley Spencer, the Gallery was named by ArtFund last year (2014) as being one the UK's five most 'unmissable' small Art Galleries. It has also been awarded a coveted Michelin Green Star, and has recently (2015) gained a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Spencer was born in 1891 in the family home in Cookham High Street. Whatever the current exhibition (there are two per year), the visitor can be assured of discovering poignant images of Cookham and people in Spencer's life from before the beginning of the First World War until ten years after the end of the Second World War. Many of Spencer's works depict joyous and vivid fusions of the ordinary with the extraordinary and the earthly with the spiritual. Those of his paintings that are set in his beloved Cookham speak to us of the village, the river and the surrounding hills, commons and meadowland from a less materialistic age than ours, yet with a timeless quality, often touched by the trauma of his wartime experiences. The Gallery provides the largest collection of Sir Stanley Spencer's works on display anywhere in the world. Others of his paintings are in Tate Britain and major regional institutions, as well as with private collectors. The current exhibition, The Creative Genius of Stanley Spencer, includes wonderful works on loan from both Aberdeen and Leeds Art City Galleries, adding to a number of hauntingly memorable works selected from the Gallery's own major collection. The exhibition explores the extraordinary diversity of Spencer's output and the breadth of his creative genius, with particular emphasis on passionate spiritual works, intricate representations of the natural world and deeply moving emotional scenes reflecting the artists personal joys and anguish. This is an exhibition to enthral everyone, from Spencer cognoscenti to those, unaware of the extraordinary world of the artist, entering the Stanley Spencer Gallery for the very first time.