Stanley Spencer's final portraits on exhibition

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams
Stanley Spencer's final portraits on exhibition

Sir Stanley Spencer, Self-Portrait, red conté on paper, 1959; Sir Stanley Spencer, Self-Portrait, oil on canvas, 1959

The Stanley Spencer Gallery will be running an exhibition on the artist’s final portraits until March 27.

Mind and Mortality comprises 26 works, spanning fifty years from 1909 until the artist’s death on the eve of the 1960s.

It includes works in oil, drawings, pen and inks and a single lithograph.

The cornerstone of the exhibition is Spencer’s two final self-portraits, made when he was dying of cancer. They were commissioned by a friend of the artist, who rejected the first.

The presentation also includes Spencer’s earliest known self-portrait from 1912, on loan from the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum Birkenhead, and a drawing of his brother, Gilbert, dated 1909, when Stanley was just 17.

Curator Amy Lim said: “We’re delighted to exhibit Spencer’s final two self-portraits side by side for the first time.

“They show off his immense skill as a portraitist and give us an insight into how he confronted his own mortality during his final struggle with cancer.

“Spencer’s portraits are often overlooked and visitors will have a chance to see for themselves why he was one of the most in-demand portrait painters of the post-war years.”

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