Thirty paintings and drawings borrowed both nationally and internationally will tell the story of Stanley Spencer's muses and the subjects that made this painter one of the greatest forces in British painting.
It will be the first exhibition in Australia in 50 years devoted to Stanley Spencer (1891- 1959). The first Spencer exhibition in Australia was held in Adelaide as part of the 1966 Adelaide Festival of Arts for which the Haywards of Carrick Hill lent paintings.
The exhibition, which is only to be shown in Adelaide, will re-examine Stanley Spencer's contribution to British Modernism through the Spencer works currently held in the Southern Hemisphere.
Spencer is heralded as one of Britain's most significant twentieth-century artists. Although he never visited the antipodes his work is in every major institution throughout Australia and New Zealand with Adelaide at one time being home to as many as twenty works, the largest group collected outside of the United Kingdom during the artist's lifetime.
Some of Spencer's most extravagant flower and garden paintings are held at Carrick Hill. Blue Iris, Sunflower, From the Artists Window, and Flowers and Rooftops are just four of these. 2016 is an impressively active year for Stanley Spencer, with three single artist exhibitions in England and one in Australia at Carrick Hill.
The Haywards first saw Spencer's work in Adelaide in 1935 in the landmark Loan Exhibition of Contemporary British Art and were inspired to buy their first work by the artist during their honeymoon in England the same year. They eventually amassed the largest private collection of Spencer's work outside England. The Hayward's home became a microcosm of British taste and the best private collection in Australia.
Artist Stanley Spencer was also a pianist and writer
From his origins as a village boy growing up in a large family home schooled with an eccentric musician father, his participation in two world wars, his marriages, through to his last decade, which brought public accolades including a knighthood, Royal Academy membership and a retrospective exhibition at the Tate, it was a remarkable and productive life.
Sir Keith Murdoch
Sir Keith Murdoch (Rupert's father) initiative in the 1930s to bring an exhibition of French and British contemporary art to Australia (which opened first in Adelaide in 1939) helped to introduce a wider Australian public to British and European contemporary artists. He was described as a rare combination of an astute business man and an informed connoisseur. The showing included four Spencer paintings, three of which would remain in Australia after the show closed and returned to Europe.
Exhibitions such as these played a key role in predisposing Adelaide audiences to what Spencer was communicating through his art.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations Carrick Hill in conjunction with former BBC television Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott and Theodore Bruce Auctions will run an appraisal day from 10.00am to 3.00pm on Wednesday 3 August. Ever wondered what that painting, chair, teapot or snuff box you inherited from Great Aunt Jean is worth? Discovery Day will be conducted by the Theodore Bruce Valuation team with Tim Wonnacott providing the commentary. Together they will identify and value the items presented. Patrons may bring up to three items each.
On Thursday 4 August from 2:30pm to 4.00pm Tim Wonnacott will feature in a further Carrick Hill event entitled Tea & Talk with Tim offering patrons the opportunity to meet the expert in antiques and the pursuit of the object.
Carrick Hill Estate is an absolutely stunning residence with hectares of well maintained gardens modelled on the English country park. We're so lucky the heritage listed property is open to the public, and the only place in Australia to host the exhibition.