Spencer, Gilbert

(1892 – 1979)

The Balcony, 6 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, 1928

SKU: 10984

Signed and dated,  1928

Oil on canvas

Height: 71cm
Width: 61cm


Percy Julius Spencer, thence by family descent; Fine Art Society, London.

Exhibited:Glasgow, Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, 1949;Pittsburg, Carnegie Institute, Great Britain, November 1955, cat. no.175, where lent by Percy Julius Spencer;Reading, Reading Museum & Art Gallery, The Retrospective Exhibition of the work of Gilbert Spencer, 10th June – 15th July 1964, where lent by Mrs. H. P. Spencer; London, Fine Art Society, Unity Spencer, 24th March – 24th April 2015.

The Balcony depicts 6 Downshire Hill in Hampstead, near the home of the Carline family at 47 Downshire Hill, with whom the Spencer brothers socialised a great deal. Gilbert Spencer describes this period in his later writings: On summer evenings we had our meals on the terrace in the garden, which had a strong Continental feeling about it. Mrs Carline’s gardening was again of a highly individual kind. She sowed seeds as though she were feeding the birds. She strewed the garden with Corots, and even an occasional Cezanne would emerge. We would move about among them playing a particularly unorthodox form of croquet.’

We are grateful to Carolyn Leder for her kind assistance

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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