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Angels and Dirt

Robert Dingley, 20 November 1980

Stanley Spencer RA 
by Richard Carline, Andrew Causey and Keith Bell.
Royal Academy/Weidenfeld, 239 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 297 77831 5
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... One can find,’ wrote Stanley Spencer, ‘interesting and very nice things in dustbins and incinerators.’ Ferreting about among rubbish heaps struck him as ‘a distinctly entertaining and elevating pastime’ and the beads, scraps of china and old books he disinterred ‘really satisfied my highest thoughts’. Sustenance of a less elevated kind was provided by the discovery, in an incinerator, of ‘a whole bevy of unopened tins of bully beef in good condition’ on which the artist feasted for a fortnight ...

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