The Betrayal (First Version) - 1919

Painting, oil on canvas, 15.5in x 20in

 

Two soldiers arrest Jesus in a setting based on the adjoining back gardens of the Spencer home ‘Fernlea’, and ‘The Nest’, in Cookham High Street. The unusual naked figure fleeing the scene is recorded in Mark’s Gospel, while on the left Simon Peter cuts off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. The pusillanimous disciples pause by the oast houses to peep over a wall at their Master.

Spencer included an annotated sketch of the picture in a letter of 4 November 1919, explaining it was ‘a picture I am doing now.’