It is instructive to compare Stanley's portrayal of children in Litter on Hampstead Heath with that in his Reunion panel of his Port Glasgow Resurrections, and also that in A Village in Heaven (for which his own more correct title was The Celebration of Love in Heaven.)

The earliest of the three paintings, A Village in Heaven [1937, Manchester City Art Gallery] is set around the War Memorial in Cookham and shows on the left villagers indulging themselves in covert sexual activities which are being blessed or redeemed by a disciple who is pronouncing his approval from the Memorial plinth. As often in Stanley's s 'sex-pictures' of the period, the disciple - a sort of messenger of Christ's ideas - is portrayed in the person of his ageing father, 'Pa'. Some of the sex-activities appear to be lesbian, no doubt reflecting Stanley's preoccupation at the time with Patricia and her relationship with Dorothy from which, as a male, he was patently excluded (he shows himself lying prone and solitary in the left corner of the painting clutching the phallic winding roots of a tree and gazing at 'Patricia's' legs.) The 'counterpoint' right-hand half of the painting shows the village children emerging from school along School Lane and either being shooed by protective parents past the scene, or else looking at it with curiosity, puzzled, but very much askance and even perturbed.

In Litter on Hampsead Heath (otherwise The Apotheosis of Hilda, unfinished, 1950s) which was intended as the altarpiece of the Hilda Chapel in Stanley's church-house, we again find children used as a feature, in this case as a cluster of youngsters returning from a party waving streamers and party toys among the excited letter-readers. But now in this picture, composed towards the end of Stanley's life, the children are not at all disturbed or puzzled by the event, and are instead joining in the joyous celebrations of their elders, as do the children in Reunion (Port Glasgow Resurrections) who are so moved by the occasion that they cheerfully wave their arms above their heads in the manner and attitudes of a glory-choir.

In A Village in Heaven of the 1930s Stanley was obviously not yet fully reconciled to the significance of sex in his vision, nor were the public (this is why Dudley Tooth insisted Stanley change the title from his preferred The Celebration of Love in Heaven.) But by the 1940s and into the 1950s his 'sex-pictures' suggest he had made a crucial discovery in his pilgrimage. His Hampstead Heath setting, like his Port Glasgow cemetery, has become a land of joyful happening...a kind of Vale of Health (Hampstead Heath) Paradise or Heaven...Hilda is entranced with it, and I tried to make it a manifestation of the joy of our united souls.

The 'crucial discovery' for Stanley must surely be that sex, once such a disturber of the peace for him, has at last acquired its meaningful place in his vision, and has become metaphysically subsumed into his meaning of Love.