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Thursday, January 17, 2013


A Stanley Spencer picture titled ‘Garden Path, Cookham Rise’, in superb original condition since its purchase from The Royal Academy in 1950, is estimated to sell for £400,000 to £600,000 at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on 29th May.

Matthew Bradbury, Director of Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Department, comments: “This painting has always been highly acclaimed. The artist’s dealer at the time of its sale, Dudley Tooth, raised the asking price for the painting on completion from £200 to £250, no doubt in acknowledgement of its sheer aesthetic quality. Executed in 1949 at a time when Spencer was still in debt, he was under considerable pressure from Tooth to provide picturesque subjects which were easier to sell, rather than large religiously influenced canvases. Stylistically ‘Garden Path, Cookham Rise’ employs quintessential Spencer techniques developed during the 1930s; a block of foreground detail (in this case the cottage gate and signs) with a quasi-photographic realism followed by a sharp plunge into depth.”

He adds: “Bonhams are proud to hold an unrivalled 100 per cent sold rate for paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer. The secular nature of this painting will ensure the work has a very wide appeal among international collectors. The work is in superb original condition and its distinguished and unbroken provenance since its purchase from The Royal Academy in 1950 also greatly enhances its desirability.”

Sir Stanley Spencer R.A. (1891-1959) ‘Garden Path, Cookham Rise’oil on canvas, 76.2 x 50.8 cm. (30 x 20 in.), painted in 1949. It is estimated to sell for £400,000-600,000. The picture was purchased for £250 from the 1950 Royal Academy exhibition.

Stanley Spencer was born on June 30th 1891 in a semi-detached Victorian villa in the enchanting Thames-side village of Cookham, near Maidenhead, his mother Annie's tenth child. Towards the close of his life in 1959 he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by Southampton University and three days later he received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace.

The painting will be exhibited in Paris and New York in the Spring prior to the London preview.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go

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