Monday, 16 June 2014

Stanley Spencer in Port Glasgow

This unusual sculpture is dedicated to Sir Stanley Spencer and can be found outside Port Glasgow's new B&Q store in a nice little landscaped area with seating.  This is the site of the former Lithgow shipbuilding yard.

Stanley Spencer spent a lot of time in Port Glasgow during WWII when he was commissioned to paint scenes in the local shipyards showing the workers' contribution to the war effort.  These are no idealised representations, but honest, down to earth views of the shipyard workers going about their tasks.

Spencer was fascinated by Port Glasgow cemetery and based his work "The Resurrection" there.  It is an enormous painting showing people climbing out of their graves, in their everyday clothes, looking as if they had just woken up.  It is held by the Tate Gallery and you can see it here.

This is a very fitting tribute to a prolific painter who immortalised the ordinary men and women who worked tirelessly in local shipyards filling the endless demand for ships which would play an important part in the war effort.

The final paragraph on the tribute reads -
These panels have been commissioned to celebrate the life and works of the Wartime Artist Sir Stanley Spencer CBE.

The steel plates represent both the work of the Artist and the Ship Building Industry of Port Glasgow.  Their shapes take inspiration from one of Spencer's most significant works entitled 'Burners' painted in 1940.  It depicts Ship Workers 'burning' or cutting steel plates before they are rivetted together.
You can view that painting here.

More of Sir Stanley Spencer's work can be seen at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Berkshire.

 The Greenockian

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