SPENCE, Ernest

1862 - 1944

William Rudolph Ernest Spence, known by his Christian name of Ernest, was born at 6 Joy House, The Grove, St Pancras, London on 29 July 1862, youngest son of Dublin born Lewis Henry Spence (1823-27 February 1874), a merchant, and his wife Ann Benham (1829-18 June 1888) only child of Daniel Benham of 18 Regent Square, London, who married at the Church of St Andrew, Holborn on 28 November 1854. In 1871, Earnest was an 8-year-old being educated, together with his three elder brothers, at a boarding school kept by John Porter, a Moravian minister, at South Street, Leominster, Herefordshire. His father died at Kentish Town in 1874, aged 50, and by 1881, Ernest was back living at 6 The Grove, St Pancras with his 51-year-old widowed mother Ann, and four of his five siblings, Daniel Benham 25, James Arthur 23, Mary Grace Ann Du Crox 20 and Nora Kathleen McGilton 13. Ernest married at the Chapel Royal, Savoy, Westminster, London on 7 April 1885 Amsbel [Mabel] Beatrice Du Cane (born 30 July 1859), daughter of James Charles Du Cane of Fullham Park. In 1891, a 29-year-old artist, living at Esplanade, St Leonards, Isle of Wight with his 31-year-old wife, born Hertford with two sons, Reginald 4 and Douglas 2, with three Spence siblings and two Du Cane in-laws as guests. In 1894 Ernest purchased a property in Guildford, now known as 65 Cranley Road, to where he and his family moved. As Ernest Spence, a figure, landscape, genre, and portrait painter, he exhibited at the Royal Academy 1884-1905 including 'Solicitude', 'Circe' and 'The River Way' and exhibited at Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours; Royal Institute of Oil Painters and elsewhere. In 1901, a 38-year-old artist, living at Cambridge Villa, Sydney Road, Stoke Within, Guildford with his 41-year-old wife, son Douglas Benham and a daughter Ruth. A member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1900-1902 and exhibited from Pit Farm, Guildford in 1900, a watercolour 'St Mary's, Guildford' and in 1902 from 7 Sidney Road, Guildford in 1902, 'A Calm Evening, Basham' and 'A Bend of the Wey' and as R. Spence, although not then a member of Ipswich Fine Art Club, exhibited from 29 Grenville Road, London in 1925, three etchings 'George Fox and the Sword', 'G. Fox at the Fire of London' and 'Pepys and King Charles'. In 1939, a retired artist, living at One Tree Corner, Warren Road, Guildford, Surrey with his wife. William Rudolph Ernest Spence died at Earlsgate, 23 Rickmansworth Road, Watford, Hertfordshire on 31 July 1944, aged 82. His daughter Ruth Amsbel Spence (1893-1941) was also an artist who exhibited at the Society of Women Artists in 1920, from One Tree Corner, Guildford.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 6 The Grove, Highgate Road, London NW
1884 917 Tony Lumpton
from 12 Edith Villas, West Kensington
1890 883 Solitude
         1160 Circe
1891 287 Portrait of a Nurse
1894 439 The Gift of Pandora
from Cushendall, Pit Farm, Guildford
1899 1176 The River Wey: Near St Catherine's - watercolour
1900 1122 Norman Lace Maker - watercolour
         1254 St Mary's Guildford
from 7 Sydney Road, Guildford
1902 7 Betty Nevill
from One Tree Corner, Guildford
1905 417 Gwendolen, daughter of F. Watkin Hancock, Esq.
1906 385 Sir John W. Wallington, K.C.B.

Works by This Artist