Convoy arriving with Wounded

Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959)
National Trust Inventory Number 790176

Category Paintings
Date 1927
Materials Oil on canvas
Measurements 2134 x 1854 mm (84 x 73 in)
Place of origin Burghclere
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire
On show at Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire, London and South East, National Trust

The narrative sequence of Spencer’s canvases from the Sandham Memorial Chapel begins with Convoy arriving with the Wounded. An open-topped bus, forces its way through rhododendron bushes to the gates of the Beaufort Military Hospital in Bristol, which Spencer described as being ‘as massive and as high as the gate of Hell’.

The unpleasant-looking gatekeeper adds an ominous element to the wounded soldiers’ arrival. The keys at his belt belong to the chapel rather than the hospital, thus visually connecting the painting with its location.

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Convoy arriving with Wounded by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), 1927. This was the first picture to be painted in the Chapel itself. It shows a convoy of wounded soldiers arriving at the Beaufort War Hospital. The ugly, thick set warder in the right foreground was based upon Sam Vickery, an unpleasant character who frightened Spencer. The key hanging upon his left leg in the picture is the same as those used for the Chapel doors at Burghclere. The rhododendrons crowding in on the scene are a local introduction inspired by the lanes around Burghclere, and Spencer used them to describe details of the hospital drive which he could not clearly recall. This painting immediately sets the tone of the whole Burghclere cycle - that of the human companionship of war, not the horror of front-line action.

Provenance

Given with the chapel by John Louis Behrend (1881- 1972) and Mary Sandham Behrend (1884 - 1977), with properties handover to National Trust 1947

Makers and roles

Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), artist

Exhibition history

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Somerset House, London, 2013 - 2015, no.1

References

Bell 1992 Keith Bell, Stanley Spencer, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Phaidon Press, London 1992, p.420
Carline 1978 Richard Carline. Stanley Spencer at War, London, Faber and Faber, 1978, p.177
Stanley Spencer (ed. Keith Bell), Royal Academy of Arts, London with Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980, p.102
Behrend 1965 George Behrend, Stanley Spencer at Burghclere, London, MacDonald, 1965, p.6-8
Robinson 1990 Duncan Robinson, Stanley Spencer, Phaidon, Oxford, 1990, p.41
Pople 1991 Kenneth Pople, Stanley Spencer: A Biography, Harper Collins London, 1991, p.96, 259-264
Gough 2006 Paul Gough, Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere, Samson & Company, Bristol, 2006, p.114-115

Related items

Place of origin Burghclere (22)
Materials Canvas (10031)
Oil paint (8287)
Category Paintings (12631)
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire (68)
Periods 20th century (174675)
Maker Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959) (36)
Subjects
Object Type Oil painting (11979)

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