SPENCE, (William Rudolph) Ernest

1862 - 1944

Born at 6 Joy House, The Grove, St Pancras, London on 29 July 1862, youngest son of Irish born Lewis Henry Spence, a merchant, and his wife Ann née Benham, who married in West London in 1854. In 1871, an 8 year old being educated, together with his three elder brothers, at the boarding school kept by John Porter, a Moravian minister, at South Street, Leominster, Herefordshire. His father died in 1874, aged 50, and by 1881 Ernest was back 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 Ducrox 20 and Nora Kathleen McGilton 13. He married at Strand, London on 1885 Amsbel [Mabel] Beatrice Du Cane (born 30 July 1859) and 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. He purchased a property in Guildford in 1894, now known as 65 Cranley Road, to where he and his family moved. Known as Ernest Spence, a figure, landscape, genre and portrait painter, he exhibited nine works at the Royal Academy 1884-1902 including 'Solicitude', 'Circe' and 'The River Way' and also exhibited at Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, 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 Art Club 1900-1902 and exhibited a watercolour from Pit Farm, Guildford in 1900 'St Mary's, Guildford' and two 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 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 and he died at Watford, Hertfordshire in 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.




Works by This Painter