Skip to content


An image of The scrapheap by Sir Stanley Spencer

Sir Stanley Spencer

(England 30 Jun 1891 – 14 Dec 1959)

The scrapheap
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

50.7 x 76.1 cm stretcher; 64.5 x 90.0 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1944
Accession number
© Sir Stanley Spencer/DACS. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Not on display
Further information

Between 1940 and 1945 Stanley Spencer served as an official war artist and was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee to record shipbuilding at Lithgows Shipyard in Port Glasgow. 'The scrapheap' is undoubtedly an offshoot of the shipyard paintings. Rich in pattern and detail, something Spencer became obsessed with in his later works, it confirms his ability to transform the everyday into something remarkable.

Provenance (2)

Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, London/England, Purchased by the Contemporary Art Society, November 1944

Contemporary Art Society, London, London/England, Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1944

Bibliography (8)

Keith Bell, Stanley Spencer - a complete catalogue of the paintings, London, 1992, 303 (colour illus.). 317

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 184 (illus.).

Ted Gott, Laurie Benson and Sophie Matthiesson, Modern Britain 1900-1960, Melbourne, 2007, 166 (colour illus.), 167 (colour illus.). illustration on pg.167 is a detail

Timothy Hyman, Stanley Spencer, 'Stanley Spencer: Angels and dirt', pg. 10-41, Millbank, 2001, 36, 54, 206, 220-221 (colour illus.). 105

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 163. 2057

Fiona MacCarthy, Stanley Spencer: an English vision, New Haven, 1997, (colour illus.). 46

Andrew Patrizio and Frank Little, Canvassing the Clyde: Stanley Spencer and the Shipyards, Glasgow, 1994, (colour illus.). plate 2

Adelaide Festival of Arts 1966: special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Sir Stanley Spencer', Adelaide, 1966. cat. no. 16

Exhibition history (6)

Sir Stanley Spencer: Adelaide Festival of Arts 1966, National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Mar 1966–Mar 1966

Artist's Glue, Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains, 04 Mar 1985–30 Jun 1985

Canvassing the Clyde: Stanley Spencer and the Shipyards, Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Glasgow, 29 Apr 1994–07 Aug 1994

Stanley Spencer: An English Vision:

Stanley Spencer, Tate Britain, England, 22 Mar 2001–24 Jun 2001

Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV: International, Melbourne, 15 Nov 2007–24 Feb 2008