In annotations to his unfinished painting of Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta, which is normally on view at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Stanley provided insight to the meaning he came to attach to his up-in-heaven or metaphysical use of the word identity.

The figures in the painting represent locals - the gentry in their punts and the villagers on the bank - together with holidaymakers from London enjoying a day out at the Regatta of his youth. 

Stanley's point is that the happiness of the occasion is a reflection, an encapsulation, of the message Christ is proclaiming from his punt (for which Stanley used the old horse-ferry barge made derelict by the 1860's building of Cookham Bridge.) In the glow of Christ's message, everyone in the painting, whatever their individual outlook or social class, is in such a state of true happiness that they are no longer in their everyday down-to-earth identities, but are passing into their perfection, their true universality as human beings -  their spiritual identity - and so are uplifted from the actuality in which Stanley depicts them into forms (shapes) in which they are in his 'up-in-heaven'. Here, for example, he refers to his 'upper-class' ladies in their punts:


The visuals Stanley uses might appear, as in many of his visionary paintings, to depict the actualities which he remembered, but he is no longer 'seeing' them in their actuality. They now provide for him that happy or enlightened state of metaphysical existence he defines as heaven. The Regatta scene represents for him an evocation of his youthful Cookham paradise, as powerful and as meaningful in recollection at the close of his life as was the churchyard of The Cookham Resurrection of the 1920s. In that painting he took into his metaphysical perfection the familiar friends and acquaintances of those days. Now, in his 1950s Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta, he embraces into their metaphysical perfection the entire social hierarchy of his remembered village.