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Self-portrait with Patricia Preece,painting by Stanley Spencer, 1937

Spencer first met Patricia Preece in Cookham in 1929. He went on to develop what he described as a ‘sort of religious fervour’ for Preece, whom he married shortly after divorcing his first wife, Hilda (Carline) in 1937. This is the first of two double nude portraits that Spencer painted of himself and Preece; the other, in Tate Britain, is known as the ‘Leg of Mutton’ nude as it includes in the portrait a leg of uncooked meat, symbolising the fact that his marriage to Preece was never consummated.