Born in Kent in 1865, Charles Spencelayh was a painter of figures, genres and portraits as well as miniatures. He initially studied at the National Art Training School (later renamed the Royal College of Art) where he won a prize for figure drawing. He also trained in Paris where he exhibited at the Paris Salon. He showed predominantly in Britain, exhibiting some thirty paintings at the Royal Academy from 1912 until his death. He painted still-lifes and many domestic scenes with an almost photographic detail. He was a founder member of the The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, an honorary member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and Vice-President of the British Watercolour Society. In 1936 he had a solo exhibition at the Sunderland Art Gallery.
Spencelayh exhibited widely, at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, the Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Glasgow Institute of Fine Art. Being a favourite of Queen Mary, he also painted a miniature portrait of King George V for Queen Mary’s dolls’ house. Spencelayh’s work is represented in the Tate Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, Bradford City Art Gallery and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.