Spencer, Gilbert

(1892 – 1979)

Shoeing 'Orses

SKU: 9227

Signed and inscribed : “Can’t you stand up?”, “No! N’more could you, if you’d been shoeing ‘orses since you was fourteen”

Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour on paper
21 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (55 x 75 cm.)
Exhibited : Bristol exhibition 1950 
Height: 55cm
Width: 75cm


The Artist’s Family

Exhibited : Bristol exhibition 


From 1941 Spencer worked with the Royal College of Art at Ambleside in the Lake District. Too old to serve in the army Spencer was active in the Home Guard as a subsection leader. His witty observations of life in the Home Guard were captured in a series of fourteen large watercolours, which were intended for publication. The publication however had to be abandoned after the watercolours were intercepted by the Royal Mail, on their way to the printers, and ripped along one side (subsequently repaired by Spencer) as an act of censorship. 

Distinguished as having been an Official War Artist in both WW1 and WW2 Spencer was commissioned by the Artists Advisory Committee on four occasions as an Official War Artist in 1940, 1942, 1943, 1944.

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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.


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