Richard Carline (1896-1980):
Portrait of Stanley Spencer, study for ‘Gathering on the Terrace at 47 Downshire Hill, Hampstead’, 1924–5
Framed (ref: 565)
Signed, dated and inscribed on the reverse: ‘Painted from life in the garden at 47 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, 1924’
Canvas on board, 24 x 14 1/2 in. (61 x 36.8 cm.)
Exhibited: The Ruskin Drawing School under Sydney Carline and his Staff, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, July 1977 (no. 26); Richard Carline, Camden Arts Centre, London, touring show, 1983
Literature: The Spencers and Carlines in the 1920s, Cookham, Berkshire, 1973; Richard Carline, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London [n.d.] (no. 16)
‘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).
It is interesting to note that in both the (destroyed) Tate composition and the finished Ferens Art Gallery painting for which this work is a study, Spencer is shown apart from the main group, leaning with arms folded and head bowed, deep in thought.
Gathering on the Terrace at 47 Downshire Hill, Hampstead was acquired by the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, in 1995. On this occasion, Ann Bukantas, then Keeper of Fine Art, wrote:
‘Gathering, a beautifully orchestrated group portrait, is one of Carline’s most important works, gaining added historical significance from the people it depicts and the nature of their relationships. The setting, 47 Downshire Hill, was the home of the Carline family and in the late 1920s became a popular meeting place for many artists living in Hampstead, who met for sketching and to discuss their artistic aims. Those portrayed, from left to right, are Stanley Spencer, James (Jas) Wood, Kate Foster, Hilda Carline, Richard Hartley, Henry Lamb, and Anne and Sidney Carline … Of Gathering, Carline has stated he “sought to convey the conflicting personalities gathering at our house”. Sketched from life, each figure, while distinctly part of the group, stands alone as a strong individual, characterised within its own independent portrait’ (Ann Bukantas, NACF Review, 1995, p. 91).