Stanley Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire; he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. As a child Spencer's remarkable imagination helped him to visual Cookham as the centre of historical and religious events, so that when he read about such miraculous events such as the Resurrection of the Dead, he imagined them happening locally to the butcher, the baker, the local postman and the village schoolmaster. During World War I he saw active service in Macedonia. His war experiences became the subject of his first important commission. During World War II he was appointed an Official War Artist, and commissioned to paint the shipbuilding yards on the Clyde in Scotland. He belonged to no school or movement, although it would be true to say that he is an essentially English artist: obsessive about the countryside in which he grew up, and none too bothered about the fashions and developments in art abroad. He was knighted in 1959.

Further reading:
Maurice Collis, Stanley Spencer: A Biography, Harvill Press, London 1962
Richard Carline, Stanley Spencer at War, Faber and Faber, London 1978
Keith Bell, Stanley Spencer: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Phaidon Press Ltd, London 1992