Gilbert Spencer was one of the leading artists of his day, but has since suffered from neglect, largely as a result of being overshadowed by his more famous older brother, Stanley. Through their coMMunal upbringing and Slade School training, the work of the two brothers is clearly united by a common thread – manifest in their devotion to accurate observation, intense sincerity and impeccable technique. But less interested than Stanley in the drama of human passion, however, the novelty of Gilbert’s work lies in his fascination with landscape, and in the incidents of everyday life in England that he was so adept at capturing.
Spencer added his unique voice to the great tradition of English pastoral painting. The Secretary of the Royal Academy, Sidney Hutchinson, remarked that Spencer ‘might well be called the John Constable of theTwentieth Century.’