This is one of the final studies for the painting Christ Carrying the Cross, purchased by the Contemporary Art Society for the Tate collection in 1921.

The events depicted were inspired by Spencer's memories of Cookham in childhood, when he watched the people pass by in the High Street on Sundays and in the evenings. He used the street as the setting of several of his religious paintings. In this one, the house shown was the artist's home, Fernlea, and the workmen carrying ladders are passing the Nest, the ivy-clad home of his grandmother. Spencer commented that he had made several drawing attempts of the cross and disciples ranged somewhat procession-wise either side of it, some of the soldiers helping in the carrying of the cross, some escorting them. This final study, which is in its original frame, is close in appearance to the finished painting.


Sir Hugh Walpole; Christie's 1947; Christie's 1996 unsold.

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