Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)

Study of Richard Hartley for Gathering on the Terrace at 47 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, 1925

SKU: 4953
Oil on canvas

Height – 56cm
Width – 46cm


Richard and Nancy Carline; thence by descent

Literature: The Spencers and Carlines in the 1920s, Cookham, Berkshire, 1973; Richard Carline, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London [n.d.] (no. 16)

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.196.

Richard Hartley met Sydney and Richard Carline at Percyval Tudor Hart’s art school in Paris in 1913. He studied at the school when it moved to Hampstead late  in 1913; he introduced Richard to Stanley and Gilbert Spencer in Cookham in 1915. He saw Richard and Hilda again in the early 1920s when all were studying at the Slade; he was a mainstay of the annual Slade Christmas Party. He went on summer holiday with the Carlines and Stanley Spencer in Andorra in 1923.

In 1921, I decided to attend the Slade under Henry Tonks. About this time, I painted a large family group seated round the dining table at 47 Downshire Hill, in Hampstead. Eddie Marsh bought it for the Contemporary Art Society but, alas, it was destroyed in the Tate Gallery flood. Three years later I painted a still larger family group on the terrace at Downshire Hill with Henry Lamb and Stanley Spencer, who was soon to marry my sister Hilda’ (Richard Carline, introduction to his own exh. cat.,Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 1975).

In his own words Carline described the group portrait:

“… [I] sought to convey the conflicting personalities gathered at our house – Stanley [Spencer] peering up and down as he expounded his views on this or that, James Wood hesitating in the doorway whether to come or go, Hilda absorbed in her own thoughts, Hartley sitting at ease, Lamb courteously attentive to my mother, with Sydney always helpful…”

We are grateful to Hermione Hunter and Jonathan Black for assistance

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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)
Italian Alps, 1920
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Family Group, 1924
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
In Guaira Harbour, 1930
Richard Carline (1896 - 1980)
Portrait of Ivy Turner
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