Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979)

Candlewick Curtains

SKU: 10481

Signed and dated

Oil on canvas


Height – 50.5cm x Width – 61cm


Private Collection

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.75.

Exhibited: London, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1967

Tree Cottage, Upper Basildon, Berkshire was where  Gilbert and Ursula Spencer stayed between 1936 -1970.

In his autobiography,  Memoirs of a Painter (1974), Spencer recalled: 

When I entered it for the first time I hated it so much that I knocked it about, and messed it up to get it more in sympathy with my feelings for painting in odd corners, or bedrooms, indoors. The fact is I am no ‚Äústudio‚Äù artist and never have been.’ Spencer normally worked outdoors, but, in winter, would paint from his cottage windows or what he called his little Colt studio’ in the garden.

 A self-portrait from the same year as Candlewick Curtains shows Spencer wrapped in a heavy overcoat painting in his studio.

Spencer painted similar compositions based on views through windows throughout his career:

Manchester Art Gallery, The Cottage Window, 1937. 

A similar compositional device appears Spencer’s Home Guard series:

The Enemy, circa 1940

Candlewick is a thick, soft cotton fabric with a raised, tufted pattern.

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Gilbert Spencer
1892 - 1979

Painter, especially of landscapes, draughtsman, teacher and writer, and brother of the painter Stanley Spencer. Born at Cookham, Berkshire. Spencer studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, woodcarving at the Royal College of Art, 1911-12, then with Fred Brown and Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Fine Art, 1913-20. Between 1915 and 1919 he served in the army. Spencer had his first one-man show at the Goupil Gallery in 1923; he also exhibited at the RA (he was elected RA in 1960), NEAC, (of which he was a member), Leicester Galleries, RSA, Redfern Gallery and many other venues. Although he produced notable wall paintings for Holywell Manor, Oxford, 1934-6, Spencer made his name as a landscape artist working mainly in the English southern counties. At various times he taught at the Royal College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Camberwell, serving meanwhile as an Official War Artist, 1940-3. His book Stanley Spencer appeared in 1961 and his autobiography, Memoirs of a Painter, in 1974. A retrospective exhibition was held at Reading in 1964. The Tate and many other public collections hold his work. He sometimes just signed his work GS. He lived in Hampstead and towards the end of his life near Reading, Berkshire.


SKU: 9279

Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979)

Portrait of RJA, 1951


SKU: 9252

Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979)

The Artist’s Daughter, Gillian