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Beer in Art #6: Charles Spencelayh’s Good Health

Most works of art are locked in museums, completely out of reach for ordinary people. But once in a while, they do become available at auction. Case in point is today’s work, entitled Good Health by English artist Charles Spencelayh.

The painting is currently at auction at Artnet Online Auctions. The price of the work is 50,000 British Pounds, or around $73,970 U.S. Dollars. Of course, when I say “ordinary people,” I mean ones with 75 Grand to blow on a painting.

While Charles Spencelayh is not a household name in art, he appears to have been well known in his day and Queen Mary loved his work. Here’s what little biographical information there is about him, from Wikipedia:

Charles Spencelayh (October 27, 1865 – June 29, 1958) was an English painter of the Academic style. Born in Rochester, Kent, he first studied at the National Art Training School, South Kensington. He exhibited at the Paris Salon, but most of his exhibits were in Britain. Between 1892 and 1958, he exhibited more than 30 paintings at the Royal Academy, including ‘Why War’ (1939), which won the Royal Academy ‘Picture of the Year’ for 1939. He was also a founder member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters. Many of his subjects were of domestic scenes, painted with an almost photographic detail, such as ‘The Laughing Parson’ (1935). and ‘His Daily Ration’ (1946). He also painted still life subjects including ‘Apples’ (1951). Spencelayh was a favourite of Queen Mary, who was an avid collector of his work. In 1924 he painted a miniature of King George V for Queen Mary’s dolls house.

Supposedly, he may have done a painting commissioned by the Bass Brewery for them to use in advertising entitled The Steward, depicting a steward opening a bottle of Bass. But so far I’ve been unable to find anything more about it or see what it looks like.

Five of his paintings are at the Tate in London and a few more are shown at the online Art Renewal Center and Bridgeman has quite a few. There are also some links at the ArtCyclopedia.

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