Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Reading at "Fernley", Cookham

"What he read, besides the Bible, was largely a closed book to me.  But conversation with my brother, Sydney, was one means of glimpsing his mind.  Another was to take a look at the old card table.  Occupying most of the space was the old Bible given to him by Mr Hatch, often opened at Job.  Struggling for space round its fringes would be Byron, Keats, Donne, Urn Burial, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Possessed.  He was heavily influenced by Dostoevski.  Later, referring to those days, he regretted struggling so long with Carlyle's French Revolution.

He was unorthodox in in the manner of his reading.  During his whole life, I never knew him sit in a comfortable chair, for this or any other purpose.  He was a hard-chair reader, and sat at a table more often than not, with his legs screwed round one another at the ankles; and a funny oil lamp usually provided the light."

Stanley Spencer by his brother Gilbert    Gilbert Spencer

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