Richard Cotton Carline (1896-1980), painter and writer, was born on 9 February 1896 in Oxford. He attended Dragon and St Edward's Schools, Oxford, before studying art in Paris and Hampstead. He joined the Middlesex Regiment in 1916, and became an officer of the Royal Flying Corps. In 1918 he was made a war artist, in which capacity he produced a series of war paintings from the air, now displayed in the Imperial War Museum. Carline attended Slade School of Art from 1921 to 1924. For over fifty years his work was displayed by the London Group, to which he was elected in 1920. Throughout his life Carline promoted a more liberal attitude to the evaluation of children's and ethnic art. In 1950 he married the painter Nancy Higgins. He died on 18 November 1980 at Hampstead.
Carline was an advisor on art education and chief examiner in art for the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate. In this capacity he visited India and Africa in the 1950s and 1960s where he collected the artwork in this collection.
Paintings and drawings by school pupils in Africa and India and a selection of artwork from other countries, some mounted on cardboard. The collection includes work by pupils of George Stevens, a friend of Richard Carline, who taught at a school in Africa before the Second World War. A covering note by Unity Spencer explaining the origins of the collection is with RCMS 58/1.
During the 1950s the artwork was displayed by Richard Carline at the Commonwealth Institute in London. The works then passed from Richard Carline's wife Nancy to her niece Unity Spencer, who deposited them at Cambridge University Library in 2000.