Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979)

God Creating the World, 1934


SKU: 10405
Original proof, squared in ink with pencil notes to margin

Height – 28.3cm x Width – 37.4cm

1 in stock


The Artist’s Studio

In 1934, Gilbert Spencer was offered a commission from Bob Gathorne-Hardy at the Mill House Press to illustrate The Ten Commandments, a comprehensive and complicated subject that the artist savoured. ‘It was just the kind of employment I was wanting’, he wrote, ‘giving me a subject, scope, and discipline. I had to submit it for approval but there was not this time that tiresome question as to whether the drawing is like the sitter. Instead there could be discussion of a more interesting and varied kind.’ Back home in Cookham, after completing his paintings for the Oratory in Burghclere, Stanley quipped, ‘Gil has found the Commandments all broken in the Bible’. Indeed he had, and then set to joining them back together. Unlike many of his contemporaries and teaching colleagues who readily enjoyed acclaim as illustrators, Gilbert had relatively little experience. However, he thrived on the challenge, creating a folio of 11 large drawings (and two title page illustrations) brimming with visual incident and character, each drawn with a tight linearity, economy of expression and little waste. Gilbert’s characteristically controlled cross-hatched shading lent itself well to the lithographic process and the portfolio of large ‘tipped in’ prints on smooth woven cream paper were considered by both artist and publisher a success.

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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