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Christ's Entry Into Jerusalem

Spencer, Stanley (1891-1959), No date, Oil on canvas, 114.2 x 144.8

An English artist, Stanley Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire.  His father was a music teacher and Stanley was the eighth child in a family  where religion,  music and literature were of the greatest importance.  Spencer studied at the Slade School of Art from 1908-12 and won prizes. His work was exhibited at the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition in 1912.   At the beginning of the First World War, Spencer enlisted, serving first in the Royal Army Medical Corps at a hospital in Bristol and later in Macedonia. His experiences of wartime service were movingly expressed in his art ten years afterwards when he painted murals for the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere, commissioned by the parents of a soldier who, like Spencer, had served in Macedonia. During the Second World War , Spencer again served as an official war artist, this time  in Glasgow, where he painted  large canvases showing  the work of shipbuilders on the Clyde. Stanley Spencer was created a CBE in 1950 and was knighted  a few months before his death in 1959.  Religion played an important part in Spencer’s life, as did the village of Cookham, where he was born and lived for many years.   He is said to have thought of Cookham as ‘a village in heaven’. Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem is shown taking place in a street in Cookham.   The painting was bought by the LACF in 1941.   The Leeds Art Fund has also bought three other works by Stanley Spencer:  Madonna Lilies, Cookham, oil on panel, (bought 1936); Gardens in the Pound, Cookham, oil on canvas (bought 1940) and Study for Leeds Decoration, watercolour (bought 1973).