Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of WarStanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War


Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War

Exhibition catalogue by Paul Gough, Amanda Bradley, David Taylor, Katy Norris, Simon Martin, Jamie Hacker Hughes, Jenny Beddington. Foreword by Dame Helen Ghosh. Edited by Amanda Bradley and Howard Watson.

  • New insights into one of the UK’s greatest war memorials
    by one of Britain’s best‐loved painters.
  • Features new writings by seven authors in six chapters
    and a select bibliography.
  • Beautifully designed, with over 80 colour illustrations,
    including texts on each of the predella and lunette
    paintings which make up the mural cycle.
  • An invaluable resource for anyone interested in modern and contemporary art or the history of the First World War.

Sir Stanley Spencer (1891‐1959) stands as one of the most important English painters of the twentieth century. Best‐known for his paintings which elevate ordinary village life to epic, sometimes Biblical grandeur, his most famous large‐scale work is the cycle of paintings at Sandham Memorial Chapel in the village of Burghclere, Hampshire, England, now owned by the National Trust.

Painted entirely from memory the canvas panels, which took six years to create, chronicle the everyday life faced by millions of soldiers during the First World War ‐ from washing laundry to kit inspection and bed‐making. As such, they offer a unique insight into the domestic and personal, rather than the combative and traumatic, experiences of the battlefield, and are considered by many to be the artist's finest achievement.

This new book, produced to accompany the temporary relocation of the canvases whilst the chapel itself undergoes restoration, includes six new essays by leading experts. The essays reveal the influences behind the paintings, from Spencer's first‐hand experiences of war, to Giotto's Arena Chapel murals in Padua, as well as Spencer's relationship with the family who commissioned the paintings and his contemporary Henry Lamb, and an essay giving insight into the psychological strategies Spencer used to turn his own experiences of war into these remarkable paintings.

Beautifully illustrated throughout with some never‐before published sketches by Spencer for the paintings and detailed explanations of each of the paintings in the cycle, this book is an essential companion to a unique war memorial created by one of Britain's best‐loved painters. The paintings will be exhibited at Somerset House (London, UK) from 7 November 2013 to 26 January 2014 and at Pallant House Gallery (Chichester, West Sussex, UK) from 15 February to 15 June 2014.


Professor Paul Gough is Deputy Vice‐Chancellor of University of the West of England, Bristol and author of Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere (Bristol: Sansom and Company, 2006); Amanda Bradley is Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture at the National Trust; David Taylor is Curator of Pictures and Sculpture at the National Trust; Katy Norris is Assistant Curator at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester; Simon Martin is Head of Collections and Exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester; Jenny Beddington is a consultant psychotherapist and Jungian analyst and Jamie Hacker Hughes is a consultant clinical psychologist and psychotherapist.


9 781869 827137
112 pages 260mm x 210 mm
81 illustrations, 71 in colour
Published by Pallant House Gallery in association
with the National Trust
November 2013