The Stanley Spencer Gallery

The gallery is sited in what was once a Wesleyan church which Stanley admired greatly. On display was an exhibition of Stanley Spencer’s work titled Paradise Regained: Stanley Spencer in the Aftermath of World War One. There were many pictures depicting scenes of Cookham using biblical stories like the Last Supper and Christ carrying the Cross, as seen through the mind’s eye of Stanley Spencer. He loved his home village of Cookham very much and would regularly revisit his childhood home with all its memories.In the gallery there was an unfinished large canvas painting by Stanley which sadly he never completed due to his death in 1959. As the gallery curator said to us, it would have been considered one of the 20th century’s masterpieces. In its unfinished state you can see the grid style he used in his works. It is a truly a wonderful piece of art, like an unfinished symphony.There is a church in Burghclere, near Newbury, which was built as a memorial to him where many of his greatest works can be seen. These were clearly influenced by his time in World War I as a medical orderly and his elder brother’s death shortly before the end of the war in 1918.Ironically, despite his paintings selling today for huge sums of money, in his lifetime he was quite poor and at times he survived on the kindness of his