Study for Burghclere Chapel North Wall - 1923

Drawing, pencil on paper, 22in x 28in

 

Spencer’s mural decorations in the Sandham Memorial Chapel, 1927-1932, commemorating his experience of military service in Bristol and Macedonia during the First World War, are one of the great achievements of twentieth century painting. Staying with his friend Henry Lamb in Poole, he produced these studies, ‘a whole architectural scheme of the pictures’. Together with other drawings, they were seen that summer by Louis and Mary Behrend who decided to build a chapel to house the projected paintings. It was to be a memorial to Mary’s brother, Lieutenant Henry Willoughby Sandham, RASC, who died from an illness contracted on service in Macedonia. These are the much-used working drawings for the north and south walls. There are significant differences between the drawings and the final scheme, notably his original intention to depict an operating theatre (N wall, third bay from the left).