Kit Inspection

Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959)
National Trust Inventory Number 790180

Category Art / Oil paintings
Date 1930
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

Soldiers struggle to flatten out the blankets onto which their kit is to be laid out prior to inspection. A humorous touch is provided by the one soldier who is near to completing his task, who appears awkwardly sprawled out as if he has fallen asleep on top of his kit.

Kit Inspection is the only one of the chapel canvases to be set at Tweseldown, the camp near Farnham in Surrey where Spencer was sent to train before he left for the Macedonian front.

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Kit Inspection by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), 1930. To an untidy, materialistic man like Spencer, a kit inspection must have undoubtedly been an irksome business, but on a different plane he was undoubtedly fascinated by the idea of soldiers surrounded by their own little world of trite everyday objects. The scene is the only painting set at Tweseldown Camp, near Farnham in Surrey where Spencer was sent from the Beaufort War Hospiatl for basic training before leaving for Macedonia.

This space in the Chapel was originally intended to hold a scene of an operating theatre (as illustrated in the 1923 working drawings) which Spencer finally rejected as being too disturbing and because it did not fit in with his general theme of companionship.


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

Makers and roles

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

Exhibition history

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, 2013 - 2015
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Somerset House, London, 2013 - 2015
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2013 - 2015


Bell 1992 Keith Bell, Stanley Spencer, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Phaidon Press, London 1992, p.422
Carline 1978 Richard Carline. Stanley Spencer at War, London, Faber and Faber, 1978, p.183
Stanley Spencer (ed. Keith Bell), Royal Academy of Arts, London with Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980, p.104
Behrend 1965 George Behrend, Stanley Spencer at Burghclere, London, MacDonald, 1965, p.8
Pople 1991 Kenneth Pople, Stanley Spencer: A Biography, Harper Collins London, 1991, p.120

Related items

Place of origin Burghclere (22)
Materials Canvas (10101)
Oil paint (8515)
Category Art / Oil paintings (12620)
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire (71)
Periods 20th century (180444)
Maker Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959) (36)
Object Type Oil painting (14400)

Record Status


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