Gilbert Spencer (1892–1979) was a British painter, muralist, illustrator, teacher, and writer whose career spanned more than six decades. Recognised during his lifetime as one of the leading artists of his generation, his reputation has long been overshadowed by his more famous brother, Stanley. Yet Spencer’s fascination with landscape and his ability to capture everyday life in rural England led to the creation of some of the most poignant artworks of the interwar period.
Drawing on a newly discovered archive of personal letters, notebooks, and diaries, this illustrated biography tells Spencer’s story for the first time. Bringing together his major paintings, drawings and illustrations, many never before seen, the book greatly expands our understanding of Spencer. It reassesses his status within twentieth-century British modernism and the revival of the landscape tradition, as well as the important role he played in the reinvigoration of public mural painting. Spencer is also reappraised as one of the most successful art teachers of his time, and his extensive influence on the lives and careers of many twentieth-century artists is explored in detail.