Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)

A dug-out at Ovillers, 1918

SKU: 4755
Signed, dated, and inscribed Ovillers
Ink and wash
16 x 12 1/4 in. (40.5 x 31 cm)

Height – 40.5cm
Width – 31cm


The Artist’s family

Exhibited: ‘Terrain & Conflict: Repercussions’, Young Gallery, Salisbury, November 10, 2018 – December 29, 2018

Provenance: The Artist’s family

Carline was a Lietenant in the Royal Air Force and served in France. Towards the end of the war he was appointed an Official War Artist and with his brother he became noted for aerial views.

Ovillers, a village about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert, was attacked on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, (1st July 1916) and subsequently the scene of numerous exchanges. It was lost during the German advance in March 1918, but retaken on the following 24 August by the 38th (Welsh) Division. 

Ovillers Military Cemetery was begun as a battle cemetery behind a dressing station in 1917.  The cemetery was increased after the Armistice when Commonwealth and French graves where brought in, mainly from the battlefields of Pozieres, Ovillers, La Boisselle and Contalmaison.  There are now 3,440 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 2,480 of the burials are unidentified.

The trench network of World War I stretched approximately 25,000 miles (40,200 km) from the English Channel to Switzerland. The area was known as the Western Front. British poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote, “When all is done and said, the war was mainly a matter of holes and ditches.

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Richard Carline
1896 - 1980

Painter, writer and administrator, Carline was born in Oxford. His father, George Carline, his mother, Anne, and brother Sydney, his sister Hilda (Mrs Stanley Spencer) and his wife, Nancy, were all painters. Carline in 1913 attended Percyval Tudor-Hart’s Academie de Peinture, in Paris. After a short period teaching, Carline served in World War I and was appointed an Official War Artist. With his brother he became noted for war pictures from the air. He was elected LG in 1920, at which time the Carlines’ Hampstead home became a centre for artists such as Henry Lamb, John Nash and Mark Gertler. During this period Carline was clearly influenced by Stanley Spencer, transforming everyday scenes into something monumental. Carline achieved this, however, without exaggerating form or gestures to the degree that Spencer did. Between 1924 and 1929 Carline taught at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford. He had his first solo show at Goupil Gallery in 1931. The mid-1930s saw Carline involved in Negro art, organising a show at Adams Gallery in 1935, and contributing the main text to Arts of West Africa, edited by Michael Sadler. During World War II Carline supervised camouflage of factories and airfields. He was involved in AIA, helping to found the Hampstead Artists’ Council in 1944. In 1946-47 he was appointed as the first Art Counsellor to UNESCO, and from 1955 to 1974 was chief examiner in art for the Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. His books include Pictures in the Post: the Story of the Picture Postcard, 1959; Draw They Must, 1968; and Stanley Spencer at War, 1978.

In 1975 the D’Offay Gallery held a Richard Carline exhibition for which the artist wrote the foreword. Carline died in Hampstead and in 1983 Camden Arts Centre organised a memorial exhibition. The Imperial War Museum holds his work, including the outstanding and pioneering series of paintings, from World War I, based on observations made from aeroplanes.

Selected Literature: The Spencers and Carlines in Hampstead in the 1920s, Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, 1973. Richard Carline, D’Offay Gallery, 1975. Elizabeth Cowling, Richard Carline, Camden Arts Centre, London, 1983. The Art of Hilda Carline, Mrs Stanley Spencer, Lincolnshire County Council, 1999, pp. 15, 22 and 23.


Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
From the Foremast in the Mid-Atlantic on the Grace Harwar, 1930
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Aloft the Foremast of the Grace Harwar, 1931
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Italian Alps, 1920
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Family Group, 1924
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
In Guaira Harbour, 1930
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Portrait of Gwendolen Carline
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Self-portrait, 1923
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Study of Richard Hartley for Gathering on the Terrace at 47 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, 1925
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Life Study (at St Martins), 1923-24