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Charles Spencelayh | Genre painter

Charles Spencelayh (October 27, 1865 - June 25, 1958) was an English genre painter and portraitist in the Academic style.
Spencelayh was born in Rochester in Kent, and first studied at the National Art Training School, South Kensington. He showed his work at the Paris Salon, but most of his exhibitions were in Britain.
Between 1892-1958, he exhibited more than 70 paintings at the Royal Academy, including "Why War" (1939), which won the Royal Academy ‘Picture of the Year’. He had a solo exhibition at The Sunderland Art Gallery in 1936.

Spencelayh was a founder member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, where he exhibited 129 miniatures between 1896-1954.
Many of his subjects were of domestic scenes, painted with an almost photographic detail, such as "The Laughing Parson" (1935) and "His Daily Ration" (1946).
He also painted still life subjects including "Exploration" (1931) and "Apples" (1951).
Spencelayh was a favourite of Queen Mary, who was an avid collector of his work. In 1924 he painted a miniature of King George V for the Queen's dolls house.

On 17 December 2009, Spencelayh's masterpiece "The Old Dealer" was sold at auction at Sotheby's for over £345,000.
An exhibition of Spencelayh's work was held from 31 January to 21 June 2015 at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester. | Source: © Wikipedia

Charles Spencelayh | Listening In, 1933 | Tate Gallery

This work depicts an old man listening attentively to a startlingly modern wireless through a pair of head phones. His posture is rigid with amazement as he listens.
The domestic interior dense with paintings and ornaments is characteristic of the artist.
His son Vernon recounted: 'in his studio he would build on frames the room, sometimes even wall-papers, and hang the walls with what one could expect in a cottage of that date.
He had rooms full of such junk’.
Spencelayh's early training as a miniature painter is evident from the highly detailed technique of the painting. | Source: Tate Gallery

Charles Spencelayh (27 ottobre 1865 - 25 giugno 1958) è stato un pittore di genere Inglese e ritrattista in stile accademico.
Spencelayh è nato a Rochester nel Kent e ha studiato per la prima volta alla National Art Training School di South Kensington.
Ha esposto il suo lavoro al Salon di Parigi, ma la maggior parte delle sue mostre erano in Gran Bretagna.
Tra il 1892-1958, ha esposto più di 70 dipinti alla Royal Academy, tra cui "Why War" (1939), che ha vinto la Royal Academy "Picture of the Year".
Nel 1936 tenne una mostra personale alla Sunderland Art Gallery. Spencelayh è stato un membro fondatore della Royal Society of Miniature Painters, dove ha esposto 129 miniature tra il 1896-1954.
Molti dei suoi soggetti erano scene domestiche, dipinte con un dettaglio quasi fotografico, come "The Laughing Parson" (1935) e "His Daily Ration" (1946).
Dipinse anche soggetti di nature morte tra cui "Esplorazione" (1931) e "Mele" (1951).
Spencelayh era uno dei preferiti della regina Mary, che era un'avida collezionista del suo lavoro. Nel 1924 dipinse una miniatura del re Giorgio V per la casa delle bambole della regina.

Il 17 dicembre 2009, il capolavoro di Spencelayh "The Old Dealer" è stato venduto all'asta da Sotheby's per oltre £ 345.000.
Una mostra del lavoro di Spencelayh si è tenuta dal 31 gennaio al 21 giugno 2015 al Guildhall Museum, Rochester. | Fonte: © British Wikipedia

Charles Spencelayh | War or no war, who cares? 1944

War or no war, who cares? is one of a number of wartime paintings by Spencelayh with patriotic titles, including They'll Always be an England (exh. RA 1940) and Why War? (1939).
The latter, depicting a gentleman contemplating the newspaper headline during the Munich crisis, appeared in newspaper and magazines all over the world after it had been exhibited at the Royal Academy. War or no war, who cares?, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1945, depicts an old man dressed in gardening clothes, the newspaper on the table presumably reporting the recent events of the war.
Spencelayh's humorous recreation of the life of a working man would have endorsed the stoicism of ordinary people at a time when the war had already continued for five years, but had made little difference to the old man whose solitary life is evident from his possessions.
The crowded interior containing a clock, stuffed animal, painting, and gardening fork is characteristic of many of Spencelayh's paintings.
His son Vernon recounted: 'in his studio he would build on frames the room, sometimes even wall-papers, and hang the walls with what one could expect in a cottage of that date. He had rooms full of such junk' (quoted in Noakes, p.29).
Spencelayh's early training as a miniature painter is evident from the highly detailed technique of the painting, a skill which earned him the label 'the Human Camera' by his contemporaries (quoted in Noakes, p.37). | Source: Tate Gallery

Why War? 1939 (Perchè la guerra?)

Preston Corporation ha pagato 315 GBP per questo superbo studio, che è probabilmente l'opera più famosa di Spencelayh.
Attualmente è in mostra al pubblico presso il museo e galleria d'arte Harris, Preston. Il modello per questo dipinto è stato il giardiniere di Spencelayh che si è seduto anche per un certo numero di altre sue opere.
Il dipinto è stato premiato con la Royal Academy "Picture of the Year" per il 1939.
L'ingrandimento rivela molti dettagli fini, in particolare quelli che si trovano nel giornale e nei dipinti alle pareti, uno dei quali è la morte di Lord Nelson.
Il dipinto originale della morte di Lord Nelson era di Arthur William Devis il cui padre, per coincidenza, era di Preston. | Fonte: Harris museum

Charles Spencelayh | Why War? 1939

Preston Corporation paid 315 GBP for this superb study, which is probably Spencelayh's most famous work. It is currently on public display at the Harris museum and art gallery, Preston.
The model for this painting was Spencelayh's gardener who also sat for a number of his other works.
The painting was awarded the Royal Academy ‘Picture of the Year’ for 1939.
Enlargement reveals much fine detail, particularly that found in the newspaper and the paintings on the wall, one of which is the death of Lord Nelson.
The original painting of the Death of Lord Nelson was by Arthur William Devis who's Father, by coincidence, was from Preston. | Source: Harris museum

Charles Spencelayh | She Stoops to Conquer | Christie's

As with the present painting, Spencelayh appreciated the value of a good title; part of his income came from reproduction of his works on calendars, greetings cards, and so on, and he once altered the title of a picture (showing a man reading a bank statement) from Overdrawn at the Bank to A Good Balance, changing it from a non-seller to one that he said 'went like hot cakes’.
Spencelayh's title is taken from Oliver Goldsmith's play of the same name, in which the hero, Charles Marlow, fails to be attracted by his social peers. | Source: Christie’s, London

Charles Spencelayh | The Old Dealer (The Old Curiosity Shop) 1892

"The Old Curiosity Shop" was described in 1978 by his biographer Aubrey Noakes as 'the work which conveys the quintessential flavour of Spencelayh at his riotous best ...his masterpiece' five years after it was sold at auction for £11,025 the highest sum ever achieved for a painting by Spencelayh.
This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1925 with the title The Old Dealer and was a great success.
The amiable shopkeeper looks up from painting an old wire bird-cage to greet the viewer as he would welcome a potential buyer in his shop.
It was this humorous interaction between the audience and the figure in the picture that made it so popular. Its popularity was also due to the wonderful array of objects depicted, many of which were things that the average visitor to the Academy in 1926 would recognise as items that they had in their own homes.
Spencelayh was inundated with letters from admirers, many of whom were enquiring about whether they might purchase items of furniture and bric-a-brac from the painting 'from the doll's house with a Noah's arc balanced above it, to the fine lacquered tray in the foreground leaning against a Windsor chair'. As most of the items had been borrowed from friends and already returned, Spencelayh had to disappoint his correspondents. | Source: Sotheby's