Our Collection

Family Group (1939)

Drawing, pencil on paper , 579mm x 449mm
Stanley and Hilda watch as their daughter pats a dog

Volume 1 of the Astor Collection of Drawings
A protective rhythm encircles the family, as Hilda guides a small daughter to pat the dog which Stanley holds on a lead. Spencer’s first wife, the artist Hilda Carline, came from a family of painters. After attending Tudor-Hart’s School of Art in Hampstead, she served in the Women’s Land Army in the Great War and then like Stanley trained at the Slade. Despite difficulties within the marriage, Hilda’s was the key role in his emotional life, as much of his work showed. They corresponded regularly, and he continued writing to her even after their divorce in 1937 and her death in 1950. These letters could be over a hundred pages long. As he wrote, ‘You still are to me the most revealing person of true essential joy I know.’

Lent by a private collector