According to an inscription in margins the ‘Earlier larger version’ of this composition was not successful. It is unclear if the inscription ‘Painted 1966, R.A. 1966’, refers to this version or the earlier ‘failed’ version. Spencers interest in tennis is documented in Richard Carline’s ‘Pairing up for tennis’ in which the young Gilbert is portrayed with his sister Hilda Carline
Spencer was elected an Associate Royal Academician (A.R.A) in 1950 and a full member in 1959. He temporarily resigned his membership of the Royal Academy in 1968, before rejoining in 1971. He exhibited widely during his lifetime and examples of his work are held in major public and private collections, including the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy.