Prior to establishing his residence near New Hope, Pennsylvania, from 1906 until about 1910, Robert Spencer lived in such towns located alongside the Delaware River as Frenchtown, New Jersey, and Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania. During the summer of 1909, he studied with Daniel Garber at his home, Cuttalossa. By 1910 Spencer had acquired a sophisticated style that reflected the influence of Garber’s meticulous draftsmanship yet exhibited a more somber mood and palette. As early as 1916 Spencer had joined the exhibiting organization of local landscape painters known as the New Hope Group. Between 1910 and the early 1920s, he often painted scenes of common people busy at work in construction, millwork, or other activities in their backyard tenements.