Lucky to be an Artist
Author Unity Spencer
Publisher Unicorn £30
In her candid memoir Unity Spencer feels lucky to be an artist. She was, however, unlucky to be a daughter of a famous father, Stanley Spencer, who was divorced by her mother Hilda Carline (also an artist). This brought insecurity into her life and led to different people caring for her. Lonely and lost, she was hard on herself and others. Until she turned to art and found sanctuary in religion, first Anglican, then Quaker faith and practice, and an awareness of ‘redemption’. She realised she was loved for who she was, as she was, and came – with help – to accept and love herself. Having a son called forth sacrificial love and a togetherness she had hitherto missed, despite his father being impossible.
It is a harrowing story but with light and joy by the end. Beautifully designed, this very visual book has a fine self-portrait on the cover. Really two books, it places photographs, paintings by her parents, and lots of her drawings and paintings round her text, which includes letters and diary extracts.