Charles Spencelayh was born in Rochester in Kent on 26 October 1865, the son of an engineer and ironfounder. He studied painting at the South Kensington School, where he won a prize for figure composition, and later he spent a period as an art student in Paris. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1892 and was in fact still exhibiting there until just before his death.
Spencelayh is better known for his oil paintings, particularly his portraits of elderly gentlemen in cluttered interiors, but there is no doubting his ability in the medium of watercolour. The present watercolour is a perfect example of his skill at producing fine and detailed studies. The exhibition at James Green's Bond Street Gallery in 1957 lists no fewer than 116 works, including the present watercolour, ranging in price from 5 to 30 guineas. Although referred to as drawings, Spencelayh liked to use strong bright colouring similar to the tones of his oils.
For another work by the artist see lot 74.