Gilbert Spencer’s formal education did not begin until he was sixteen when he was sent briefly to private school in Maidenhead before studying at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and the Royal College of Art. Subsequently, Gilbert followed Stanley to the Slade School of Fine Art in 1913, remaining until 1915, under the tutelage of Fred Brown and Henry Tonks – the latter remaining a powerful influence until the end of Spencer’s life.
This painting is believed to date from Spencer’s first period of study at the Slade, where he was a highly decorated pupil. Spencer won the coveted Life Drawing Prize in 1914, and was the runner up for the Summer Composition Competition
with ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ (Art Gallery of Hamilton, Canada).
He won the Summer Composition Competition a year later with ‘Summer’ (UCL Art Museum), a painting of
Marsh Meadows in Cookham.