Sorting the Laundry
Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959)
Art / Oil paintings
Oil on canvas
1054 x 1854 mm (41 1/2 x 73 in)
Place of origin
HampsteadOrder this image
Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire
The Laundry at Beaufort was a space where Spencer found respite from unwelcome chores. In this cheerful scene a nurse supervises orderlies who sort through bags of laundry, including towels, jackets and sheets. A giant pile of white sheets builds up against the wall – a second pile, of spotted red handkerchiefs belonging to the permanent inmates from the asylum at Beaufort, reminds the viewer of the hospital’s dual purpose during the war.
Oil painting on canvas, Sorting the Laundry by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), 1927/32. This is another domestic scene, much more cheerful than some of the preceding ones. The supervisor this time is a nurse in a clean, crisp uniform rather than a bullying NCO, and the happier spirit is reflected in the bustle of activity. The spotted hankerchiefs belonged to inmates of Beaufort which was a lunatic asylum taken over by the military.
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
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.421 Stanley Spencer (ed. Keith Bell), Royal Academy of Arts, London with Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980, p.106 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.96-97,122 Gough 2006 Paul Gough, Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere, Samson & Company, Bristol, 2006, p.124-126