A Stanley Spencer painting - perhaps the only one - which can be interpreted as a rendering based on Hell is his The Deposition and Unrolling Away of the Stone, done in early 1956. It is a dual painting, the larger upper scene - the Deposition - showing a proxy-Stanley as a good-looking Christ on the Cross, alive but lost to the world around. The nails through his hands and feet are being energetically drawn out by workmen brandishing fearsome pincers. They are naked but for bathing costumes or prominent red jockstraps or posing pouches. By Christ's side a grieving Virgin Mary, resplendent in a blue robe of stars (and no doubt a proxy for his dead wife Hilda), is being supported from behind by an ambiguous figure proposed as the biblical St John but in fact not unlike a portrait of Stanley himself.

Below this scene is a smaller supporting scene, a predella, in a different style and showing a section of a large cylindrical sewer-pipe on it side evidently representing the Tomb, its cover being rolled away by an angel to reveal a Christ
different in appearance from the Christ above in being dark and bearded and reminiscent of Stanley's portrayals of his father, Pa, in visionary paintings. A second angel is preparing to escort Him out of the tomb (Stanley was evidently using the account in St John's Gospel.) The pipe-tomb lies in a tranquil green landscape, across which are scattered four strange objects rolled-up into balls. The ones near the tomb are tightly rolled, but those in the distance are gradually opening to suggest human figures uncoiling from a tight foetal position.

The physical memory-feelings of the imagery are not difficult to detect. The upper Deposition panel must reflect an occasion when he was invited to join a swimming party at the male bathing place at Spade Oak on the Thames. During the event, he accidentally stubbed his foot so badly that his second toe on the left leg became infected. He had to spend a week in hospital for it to be amputated. The cylindrical pipe-tomb in the lower Unrolling Away of the Tomb predella echoes the large-diameter concrete pipes being laid at the time along Cookham High Street for mains drainage, a process which fascinated Stanley, with the four strange-looking rolled-up objects being evidently based on the large wooden balls he saw the workmen using to test the gradient of sections of piping.

However, the emotional genesis of the painting sources from the complexities of Stanley's 1950s decade. One clue lies in a letter of December 1955 in which Stanley refers to the work as a small religious painting (it is appox 3ft by 2ft or 110 x 60cms) done for some charming old archdeacon (The Very Revd E.Milner-White, who later passed it to York City Art Gallery.) It appears to indicate the biblical interval between the Deposition and the Unrolling. Those three days comprise the Three Days of Entombment, during which in Catholic and Orthodox creeds (less so in Protestant faiths) Christ descended to the Harrowing of Hell, thereby defeating Satan, taking on Himself the sins of the world and freeing from Limbo the souls of the dead waiting there.

So it could be relevant that the rolled up balls in the picture are the 'frozen' souls of the dead as they are freed from Purgatory, imaged from the surprisingly deep trenches in which the drainage pipes were laid (they had to be connected to sewage works on the other side of the Thames.) Thus the 'balls' of 'frozen' souls can be interpreted as
slowly 'thawing' into the green and pleasant (Cookham?) landscape of a heavenly Paradise to which they hope their past earthly Grace will assign them at the Last Judgment to come.

According to Keith Bell, the painting was done from sketches Stanley had made as early as the 1940s, possibly for a series which was not followed up. 
But by the mid-1950s Stanley, although desperate to finalise his visionary work, faced having to undertake these commission to meet Tooth's demands for keeping his finances afloat. So to save time, he simply turned back to his 1940 drawings for ideas.

A couple of years or so earlier, Stanley had used the same drawings for a companion dual-painting called Christ Rising from the Tomb on behalf of another patron, Michael Stewart. It shows the same circular tombstone, but the tomb in this case resembles a wartime air-raid shelter. In the predella, the tombstone is a section cut away to leave a hole in the side of the shelter. The presence of the High Priest's guard soldiers in both sections reinforces a WW2 association.