Spencer, Gilbert

(1892 – 1979)

Portrait of Joyce Peters, 1920's

Signed
Oil on canvas

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Gilbert Spencer; Gillian Spencer; thence by descent; Private Collection

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.115.

Exhibited: La Biennale di Venezia, 1930, catalogue no. 136. 

Joyce Peters was a dancer and associated with the Bloomsbury Group.  A life-long friend of Gilbert Spencer she helped him secure a number of portrait commissions.

This portrait was exhibited in the British Pavilion at the 1930 Venice Biennale, after Sir Ronald Graham the British Ambassador to Italy had successfully argued that Britain’s absence from the Biennale would be interpreted as a “sign of national indifference to art”.  P.G. Konody, who had campaigned tirelessly through the 1920s, was still part of of the Pavilion organising committee, alongside other ongoing members Lady Cunard and Sir Joseph Duveen, as well as several others.

Ninety seven British artists were on view at the Pavilion in that year. This included Gilbert Spencer, as well as his older brother, Stanley. It also featured names such as Henry Moore, David Bomberg, Ethel Walker, and Gerald Leslie Brockhurst. 

We are grateful to Glyn Hopkins for assistance.

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THE ARTIST

Spencer, Gilbert

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.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Gilbert Spencer
Tennis – viewed from a gap in the trees, circa 1966
£2,750.00