Hand-designed Christmas cards tribute to Stanley Spencer

1st December 2020

Christmas cards designed by Claires Court Junior Boys for a competition run by Stanley Spencer Gallery have been launched by the Cookham-based gallery.

The winning card design was by Ethan Olikara, then in Year 5, and it bursts with exuberance and Christmas goodwill, as well as cleverly depicting important Spencer and Cookham themes. The unique cards can be bought by visiting, emailing colin@stanleyspencer.org.uk or calling 01628 520113.

Martyn Goddard, Head of Art at Claires Court Junior Boys, commented: “We aim to offer a variety of arts opportunities for all our age groups and with close connections in the community and with Stanley Spencer, our Junior Boys were able to showcase their talents and creativity. We’re pleased the boys participated and all entries were very impressive.”

Shez Courtenay-Smith, Vice Chair at the Stanley Spencer Gallery, said: “With more than 100 designs offered by the children, many were fascinating and beautiful, but alas, we could only choose one final winner. We loved the Spencer figure, with his characteristic haircut, specs and huge smile. Spencer was so well known in Cookham for his friendliness and engaging manner and he also spent much time in the vicinity of the various local churches, as seen in the card image. Spencer’s pram, now with iconic status and housed in the Stanley Spencer Gallery, is also wonderfully shown in Ethan’s design – with easel and other artists’ materials aboard. Then we have additional Spencer themes, especially the picket fence, featured in so many Spencer paintings (and actually present to this day around Cookham’s Holy Trinity churchyard), and the turkey, colourfully depicted, echoing the Spencer painting ‘Turkeys’, 1925. The outcome is truly celebratory and our thanks go to all who made this competition so successful.”