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Windsor Guildhall Stanley Spencer exhibition takes visitors back to First World War

Windsor Guildhall Stanley Spencer exhibition takes visitors back to First World War

Curator Dan Howick

An exhibition outside Windsor Guildhall will guide visitors through Cookham artist Stanley Spencer’s wartime experiences.

The exhibit – which is free and COVID-friendly – is a joint venture between Windsor Library and the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum.

Those who visit will be able to take a trip back to the First World War and explore how Spencer’s experiences during the battle affected his life and artwork.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham helped with the exhibition, which was originally on display at the village library.

Curator of the exhibition, Daniel Howick, explained how people will be able to read Spencer’s ‘riveting’ letters he wrote during the Great War.

“I think quite a few people know of Stanley Spencer – he was an acclaimed artist, after all – but how many know about his time spent on the front lines? This exhibition tells that story really well,” Daniel said.

“People will be able to follow Stanley Spencer’s First World War through a series of letters he wrote whilst in service.

“First, on the home front in Bristol and Surrey as a medical orderly. Then, during his time on the front line in Salonika (modern day Greece), where he spent two and a half years facing German and Bulgarian troops.

“The letters are absolutely riveting and contain some really evocative illustrations, particularly of gasmasks – which he didn’t much like.”

After his return to Cookham from the war in 1918, Spencer was appointed as an official war artist.

The museum is still closed, so the exhibition will be available to view outside – on the Corn Market.

“Because of restrictions, and people maybe choosing to stay indoors a bit more, an outdoor exhibition is a really wonderful idea,” Daniel added.

“We can’t forget either that the museum is still closed, so being able to share the story with everybody is very exciting.

“Given Stanley’s connection to Cookham and his status as an acclaimed artist, he seemed to be the perfect choice.”

The exhibition will be in place until Monday, November 30.

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