Filling Water-bottles

Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959)
National Trust Inventory Number 790188

Category Art / Oil paintings
Date 1927 - 1932
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 orderly’s ‘wings’ in Frostbite are echoed here in a different form - in the dramatically-flowing ‘wings’ of the soldier’s mackintoshes, as they collect water from a spring. The technical skill evidenced here demonstrates how Spencer had matured during his painting of the chapel canvases, for this was one of the last scenes he painted.

Spencer had written about water fountains like this one, with “a great crowd of men round a Greek fountain or drinking-water trough (usually two slabs of marble, one set vertically into the side of a hill, having a slit-shaped hole in it which the other slab fits ... ”

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Filling Water-bottles by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), 1927/32. War scene in Macedonia 1927. The soldiers are wearing topis and groundsheets. Once again two mules dominate the foreground, balancing the soldiers high up on the rocks who are gathering water from the stream-fed fountain.


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.423
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.109
Behrend 1965 George Behrend, Stanley Spencer at Burghclere, London, MacDonald, 1965, p.37
Pople 1991 Kenneth Pople, Stanley Spencer: A Biography, Harper Collins London, 1991, p.149-150
Gough 2006 Paul Gough, Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere, Samson & Company, Bristol, 2006, p. 146-148

Related items

Place of origin Burghclere (22)
Materials Canvas (10115)
Oil paint (8601)
Category Art / Oil paintings (12632)
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire (71)
Periods 20th century (181525)
Maker Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959) (36)
Object Type Oil painting (14421)

Record Status


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