CARLINE, (Annie) Hilda

1889 - 1950

Hilda Carline

As Annie Hilda Carline, she was born at Fulham, London on 20 November 1889 daughter of artist George Francis Carline (1855-1920) and Annie Smith, an adopted daughter of John Smith. In 1901, an 11 year old living at Brook End, Repton, Burton-upon-Water, Staffordshire with her parents, 45 year old John and 38 year old Annie, with four sibling brothers, George Reginald 16, Roland Francis 14, Sydney William 12 and Richard Cotton 5, both Richard and Sydney became artists. In 1911, the family were living at 3 Park Crescent, St Giles, Oxford and they later lived in Switzerland; Derbyshire before returning to Oxford. Together with brothers Sydney (1886-1929) and Richard, she studied art under the Post-Impressionist Percyval Tudor-Hart (1873-1954) and Hilda did farm work for the Women's Land Army near Wangford, Suffolk 1916-1918 then studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks(1862-1937). She had a promising early start with her works being shown at the London Group, Royal Academy and New English Art Club. In 1919 she met Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) and Spencer accompanied the Carlene family on their travels, including their Suffolk trips, and Spencer and Hilda Carline often painted landscapes side-by-side, making similar works. They married at Wangford, Suffolk on 23 February 1925 and lived in the Vale of Heath Hotel, near Hampstead Heath but in 1927 they moved to Burghclere, Hampshire, they had two daughters, Mary Shirin (born 1925) and Unity (born 1930), both born at Hampstead. Carline and Spencer were incompatible, she being a Christian Scientist and Stanley a pantheist and they divorced in May 1937, and Spencer married lesbian Patricia Preece the following week but the marriage was not consummated and Preece returned to her previous lover Dorothy Hepworth. Before and during her marriage Carlene and Spencer made frequent visits to Suffolk, painting on the coast around Wangford and Carlene's brothers Richard and Sydney frequently staying with them and both Richard and Carlene exhibited with the Sole Bay Group [q.v.]. From 1937 Carline and the girls lived with family members, then there was a decline in Carline's mental health. In 1932 Carline made only two paintings, which journalist John Henshall attributed to depression and in 1942 she had a nervous breakdown and was in a mental hospital for eight months, during which time she was visited every Sunday by Spencer, who, after their divorce, had continued to be 'obsessed' with her and that increased after her breakdown. In 1947 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy and she died at Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead on 1 November 1950. Spencer continued to be inspired by Carline after her death, continuing his stream of works from his memory and writing letters to her until his death.

Works by This Painter