Spencer, Stanley - Symbolism 07 - A village in heaven 1937
Type of Spiritual Experience
A frieze shaped painting depicting an imaginary scene of a heavenly village based on Cookham in Berkshire. Groups of adults and children are dancing and playing in the village square around a central stone obelisk, at the foot of which sits a vase of flowers
The Art and Vision of Stanley Spencer - Kenneth Pople
For his large composite visionary paintings - invariably those which had major significance in his outlook - Stanley would kaleidoscope his selected drawings into a master-composition. Once satisfied with this master-composition, he would use his pencilled grid-system to transfer it, section by section, to a full-size canvas ready for painting. These assemblies could thereby became 'modernist' complexes of multiple or mixed perspectives, and his adjustment of them in the interests of overall composition, achieved instinctively as he worked, was always consummate. The task was usually undertaken in such high creative excitement that he would refuse or postpone uncongenial social invitations in order to work undisturbed for hours or days at an end until he had achieved the effect he wanted.
The whole process was so important to Stanley that when it operated effectively, he felt transported into a state of happiness, that is, to a state of such creative imperturbability that the physical problems of existence, however pressing, had no influence. The effect was sometimes such that he could continue producing up-in-heaven paintings while apparently behaving in a contrary way in his down-to-earth life. But when both lives coalesced, his happiness was complete. The supreme example of these states was related by him to the creative ecstasies he had experienced in his adolescent days at home in Cookham. He knew them as his Cookham-feelings. For him it was the glorious period of his most inspired exploration and his most fruitful contemplation. Its impact coloured the whole of his life.
A description of the experience
Spencer, Stanley - 1937 A Village in Heaven