Neighbours - 1936 

 Painting, oil on canvas - 30in x 20in

 

This is one of nine pictures in the ‘Domestic Scenes’ series of 1935-6, which concentrated on his childhood and marriage to his first wife Hilda Carline; the ‘Domestic Scenes’ were also a part of the ‘Marriage at Cana’ section of the ‘Church House’. Painted from a characteristically high viewpoint, it commemorates the occasions when his elder sister Annie exchanged gifts with her cousin over the hedge at ‘Fernlea’. In this case she receives tulips from the garden at ‘Belmont’ (on the left). Spencer commented on the picture to his dealer Dudley Tooth, ‘It shows the privet hedge which divided our garden from the cousins’ next door. Beyond the wall is the orchard. I do not remember much in the way of flowers in the garden but there were plenty in the next door garden, the family being a family of girls.’ The painting was taken from a squared-up illustration for April in the Chatto & Windus Almanack.