The present work is by artist Gilbert Spencer, brother of the well-known Stanley Spencer. Somewhat overshadowed by his brother's fame, Gilbert's enigmatic subjects and painterly technique have been comparatively overlooked. Following his older brother, Spencer attended the Slade School of Fine Art between 1913-1915. Surrounded by like-minded individuals, Spencer became friends with Sydney Carline, the master of drawing at the Ruskin in Oxford, who would later invite Spencer to join his teaching staff.
The present work depicts a young girl, behind a rusted barbed wire fence, on the grounds of Garsington. A manor house in Oxford, Garsington was owned by socialite and patron of the arts Lady Ottoline Morrell, a welcoming figure who befriended the artist upon his arrival in the city. Garsington is frequently used as both subject and backdrop of many of Spencer's works. The present painting depicts a young girl walking through the grounds of Garsington.
Painted in 1938, this work was completed one year before the outbreak of the second world war, which would dramatically change the British landscape. In retrospect, this peaceful countryside depiction captures the essence of pre-war Britain.