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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Stanley Spencer was a talented draughtsman who continued to perfect his technical skills within this medium throughout his lifetime, working tirelessly to prepare correctly for future paintings as well as producing independent drawings that could be considered as a completed artwork in their own right.

The drawings and study sketches of many famous artists have been lost and damaged over the years but, thankfully, the more recent draughtsmen have had their work in this medium better preserved. There has been a greater acceptance of the importance of their work in preparing for later paintings, as well as an increasing desire to understand how a painter might produce portraits, for example, without the many layers of paint for which they would be better known. Some artistic communities have also considered an artist who cannot draw as somewhat of a fraud, and so these examples of their sketches are essential to academic respect, in some quarters. This attitude has varied across regions and eras, though, with Diego Velazquez being rare in spending so much time perfecting his drawing ability within Spain at that time. Alternatively, Italian artists were required to have these skills as a mandatory right of passage.