Sir Stanley Spencer (English, 1891-1959) was born in Cookham, Berkshire, and trained at the Slade School of Art alongside other leading artists of his generation such as Paul Nash, Dora Carrington and Christopher Nevinson. Upon leaving the Slade, Spencer built a name for himself painting Biblical scenes depicted as if in Cookham, a place he decribed as "a village in Heaven". As his career progressed, the intensity of his early imaginings faded as he began producing landscapes for more commercial reasons. His work developed more eccentricity as he grew in popularity, often portraying unconventional approaches to the Christian faith, particularly in the scenes he set in Cookham.
Following a retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1980, Spencer's paintings climbed rapidly in value, with a piece entitled The Resurrection; waking up, sold for £770,000 at Christie's early in 1990. In May of the same year, his 1958 piece, Crucifixion, fetched £1,320,000. The record to this day is the Sunflower and Dog Worship that sold for £5.4m in 2011.