Ecstasy in a Wesleyan Chapel, c1937



In 1942 Spencer wrote of his youthful attendance and love of the gentle homely atmosphere in the Wesleyan Chapel in Cookham, now the Stanley Spencer Gallery. When people felt ‘Entirely Sanctified’ they would ‘flop down’ on ‘that sacred piece of ground’ that ‘counted’ for ‘coming to the Lord’. ‘It seemed to be the take off place for their Methodist heaven.’ This ‘sort of spiritual apotheosis of a grocer’ is seen in the central figure with face uplifted. On the left is a steward (who conducted part of the service) in a kitchen chair in a ‘Guy Fawkes attitude with beard’. Spencer’s idea was never painted, but it incorporated children on the right ‘safe & cosy in the arms of Jesus’. Further left he planned ‘pews with us in them’ and figures on the right were to include Wesleyan souls being carried off to glory.