Hilda Carline (1889 - 1950)

Portrait of Gilbert Spencer

, 1919
Text by Hermione Carline ( the artist’s niece) and Jackie Naffah (writer and artist)

It was while studying at the Slade School of Fine Art (1918–1922) under Henry Tonks that Hilda Carline met Gilbert Spencer. Gilbert was the younger brother of Stanley, whom she went on to marry in 1925. Gilbert was born on 4 August 1892 and was the eighth son and youngest of eleven children. A talented painter himself, he was noted for his landscapes, was a member of the New English Art Club, and held his first solo exhibition at the Goupil Gallery in 1923.

Before she began her studies at the Slade, Hilda attended – along with her brothers Sydney and Richard Carline – Percyval Tudor-Hart’s School of Painting in Hampstead. Tudor-Hart had a profound influence on the three siblings and there is discernible evidence of his avant-garde teaching style in all their work. Tudor-Hart’s experimental methods and advanced theories on colour and its effect on the emotions informed Hilda’s work and marked the beginning of a productive period in her artistic career.

This drawing was probably made in 1919, at the time when she had just started a part-time five-year training at the Slade. The drawing demonstrates both her consummate skill as a draughtswoman and her sensitivity to the subject matter, where urgency and spontaneity prevail. The portrait invites a dialogue with the viewer, due in part to its dynamic nature and to the quality of expression.

Portrait of Gilbert Spencer
x W30cm
Red chalk on paper. Inscribed 'Mr G Spencer'.

Carline Carline

Hilda Carline (1889 - 1950)

Hilda Carline studied at Percyval Tudor-Hart’s School of Paintingin Hampstead (1913) and served with the Women’s Land Army(1916 - 18), before enrolling at the Slade School of Fine Art underHenry Tonks in 1918. Quickly gaining critical recognition, sheexhibited at the London Group, the Royal Academy and the New English Art Club. This impressive start to her career faltered, particularly aftershe married, in 1925, the artist Stanley Spencer Their turbulent union resulted in periods when Carline hardlypainted at all and eventually, in 1942, she suffered a breakdown. Nevertheless, she never neglected painting entirely, and evenduring these challenging times produced animated, vigorous work,such as Lady in Green, a 1933 portrait of her husband’s mistress, Patricia Preece. After her divorce in 1937, Carline began working morefrequently once again, producing numerous pastels which exploredher religious beliefs.

Artworks by the same artist