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During the Second World War Spencer was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee in 1940 to document life in the shipyards on the River Clyde in Port Glasgow. Spencer's dealer, Dudley Tooth, had approached the committee to ask if Spencer could be found a job as sales of his work had slumped due to the war and he was in danger of becoming destitute. In Glasgow Spencer found lodgings at the Glencairn boarding house where this picture was painted. Such were his financial difficulties that the artist had to work on both the shipyard paintings and a series of landscapes whilst complaining that they 'absorb every bit of my energy and concentration and when I attempt to switch from one or the other work suffers … but as far as I can see I must try once again to arouse interest in my landscapes and do as many as I can'.

British Council Collection





oil on canvas


H 50.8 x W 76.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from Arthur Tooth & Sons, 1950

Work type



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British Council Collection

Visual Arts, Arts Group, 10 Spring Gardens, London, Greater London SW1A 2BN England

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