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Old Woman Knitting
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London

Old Woman Knitting 1937

Patricia Preece (1894–1966)

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Painter, born into a peripatetic military family, who became Lady Spencer, second wife of the painter Stanley Spencer. In 1917 entered the Slade School of Fine Art, studying under Henry Tonks, there meeting her lifelong companion Dorothy Hepworth. They became members of the Bloomsbury Group circle and shared a studio. She spent four years in Paris on the urging of Roger Fry and studied in André Lhote’s studio, Dorothy Hepworth attending the Atelier Colarossi. Returning to England in 1925 they rented a number of cottages in the west of England, in 1927 settling in Cookham, Berkshire. There Patricia Preece met Stanley Spencer, modelled for him and entered into the bizarre marriage of 1937 recounted in her autobiography as told to Louise Collis; after the marriage she did not live with Spencer.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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