'Your loving friend, Stanley' The great war correspondence between Stanley Spencer and Desmond Chute

Gough, P. (2010) 'Your loving friend, Stanley' The great war correspondence between Stanley Spencer and Desmond Chute. Bristol: Sansom and Company. ISBN 9781906593766

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Abstract

Few British artists have written as many letters as Stanley Spencer. Even the best-informed estimates can only hazard the volume of words he committed to paper, though it is reckoned he wrote in primary material some two million words. The Tate Gallery alone holds eight-eight bulky notebooks, thirteen diaries, and over 900 extensive tracts of writing, ranging from cursory notes on the back of envelopes to jottings that cover many pages of his rather urgent script. Likening his output to that of James Joyce, one archivist has suggested that ‘Spencer’s writing presents a stream-of-consciousness chronicle of his own thoughts and feelings unparalle[le]d both in volume and intensity by any artist in the twentieth century.’

Item Type:Book
Additional Information:Your Loving Friend, Stanley: the Great War correspondence between Stanley Spencer and Desmond Chute ed. & essays by Paul Gough, 143 pages, 42 bw ills, Sansom & Co pbk, £12.95 This gem of a book transcribes the 31 letters the artist wrote to Desmond Chute, a young aesthete, whom Spencer befriended as a 24-year old orderly in a Bristol military hospital. Chute introduced Spencer to St Augustine’s Confessions, which transfigured the latter’s understanding of the hospital’s ‘menial grime’. There are many moving passages such as when Spencer, in the Macedonian theatre of war,talks about, how in his art, ‘I shall be able to show God in the bare “real” things, in a limber wagon in ravines, in fowling mule lines.’ Spencer’s wartime reminiscences of his native Cookham have a hallucinatory vividness. Philip Vann
Uncontrolled Keywords:Stanley Spencer, Desmond Chute, great war, art, Cookham
ID Code:17629
Deposited By: Dr P. Gough
Deposited On:02 Nov 2012 16:46
Last Modified:20 Nov 2014 13:41

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