Carline, Hilda

(1889 – 1950)

Portrait of Gilbert Spencer, circa 1919

Pencil on brown paper

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artists Daughter; thence by descent

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 14.

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.164.

Hilda Carline met Gilbert Spencer while studying at the Slade School of Fine Art (1918–1922). Gilbert
was the younger brother of Stanley, whom she went on to marry in 1925. These two portrait drawings,
one executed in pencil, the other in red chalk, date to around 1919 and in their vigour and directness
demonstrate the influence of the teachings of Professor Henry Tonks (1862-1937), who encouraged
students to emulate the drawing methods of the Renaissance masters.
Pencil provided artists with the opportunity to create lines with a very precise delineation. Although red
chalk could also be used in the same way, it tended to be valued primarily for its quality to convey subtle
graduations in tone, similar to pastel and charcoal, ideal for the rendering of human flesh.

We are grateful to Hermione Carline and Jackie Naffah for assistance

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THE ARTIST

Carline, Hilda

1889 – 1950

Hilda Carline studied at Percyval Tudor-Hart’s School of Painting
in Hampstead (1913) and served with the Women’s Land Army
(1916’18), before enrolling at the Slade School of Fine Art under
Henry Tonks in 1918. Quickly gaining critical recognition, she
exhibited at the LG (1921), the RA and the NEAC. 

This impressive start to her career faltered, particularly after
she married, in 1925, the artist Stanley Spencer (1891’1959).
Their turbulent union resulted in periods when Carline hardly
painted at all and eventually, in 1942, she suffered a breakdown. 

Nevertheless, she never neglected painting entirely, and even
during these challenging times produced animated, vigorous work,
such as her 1933 portrait of Patricia Preece (1894’1966) ‘ her
husband’s mistress ‘ entitled Lady in Green

After her divorce in 1937, Carline began working more
frequently once again, producing numerous pastels which explored
her religious beliefs.

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