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The Fine Art Society opens survey exhibition of the work by Unity Spencer
Unity Spencer, Portrait of Stanley Spencer, oil on canvas, about 1957. Courtesy The Fine Art Society.

LONDON.- The Fine Art Society is staging the first West End survey of work by Unity Spencer. The exhibition marks the publication of Unity’s candid autobiography ‘Lucky to be an Artist’.

Unity Spencer has been an artist for seventy years. Her vocation should be no surprise – her father was Stanley Spencer and her mother Hilda Carline. Painting was in her blood, and so too is searching for truth through the medium of paint.

Unity’s autobiography recounts for the first time her intimate memories of her father and the story of her own life, which has at times been challenging and hard. Forging her own artistic identity in the shadow of her famous parents, and the impact of their collapsing marriage; being a single mother in an era which deemed it morally unacceptable; escaping an abusive partner; striving to support herself and her son and remain true to the vision of her art – these are all facets of Unity’s extraordinary life and ones she has not shrunk from confronting in her paintings. But in these works there is also joie de vivre, originality and beauty, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Unity’s journey and the courage she has shown in her life and her art are an inspiration.

The exhibition consists of fifty oils by Unity of all periods, together with etchings. The gallery is also showing paintings by her father Stanley Spencer, her mother Hilda Carline, her uncles Gilbert Spencer and Richard Carline, and her grandfather George Carline. It is an opportunity to appreciate Unity’s work within the context of this unique family heritage. All works are for sale.

Journalist and presenter, Jon Snow, refers to the significance of the publication:

“Unity has provided a collector’s item - a daughter’s direct and candid memories of a brilliant painter and the often chaotic world that surrounded him.”

‘Lucky to be an Artist’, Unity Spencer’s autobiography, provides a fresh perspective on the Spencer family and her parent’s tumultuous life. The book describes Unity’s unconventional childhood, her complicated relationship with her father, Stanley Spencer, and her own career as an artist.

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