Thursday, December 02, 2021

Gilbert Spencer: shedworker

Painter Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979), younger brother of the more famous Sir Stanley, lived for many years at Tree Cottage in Upper Basildon, Berkshire. He mostly worked out in the open but in winter also painted, somewhat relectantly, in a garden room, which he called his 'little Colt studio'. It's privately owned now and there are very few pictures of it available, the best we can find is included above. Here's what he says about it in his memoirs:

‘When I entered it for the first time I hated it so much that I knocked it about, and messed it up to get it more in sympathy with my feelings for painting in odd corners, or bedrooms, indoors. The fact is I am no “studio” artist and never have been.’

Purpose-built for Gilbert in the mid-1930s, the property is Grade II listed and here's what Historic England has to say about the studio's listing:

This is a rectangular weatherboarded structure, oriented West to east with a pitched roof covered in diamond shaped felt tiles. Large windows to the south and west, the latter floor to ceiling in height, are designed to allow the maximum amount of light into the studio. Both are timber-framed with multiple lights. The studio is entered through a simple plank door in the south elevation and the interior is a single space with panelling to dado height and a wooden floor. 
Here is a self-portrait from 1967 painted in the Colt studio which Spencer called Activity at Tree Cottage No.2.


Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

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