Stanley & His Daughters

‘Stanley and his Daughters’ recounts the late-life reconciliation of painter Stanley Spencer’s two daughters, Unity and Shirin, as they both struggled to deal with the legacy of their father’s personal life which had torn their family apart.

When Stanley’s first marriage failed Unity and Shirin were little girls - Unity stayed with her mother while Shirin was sent to stay with a distant relative. Shirin never returned to her family and the two sister grew up estranged. Aged 85 and 90 the two decided to set up house together in Wales with Unity’s son John.

This film, shot over a period of 18 months, follows them as they pack up their houses and start a new life. They look back at their own lives and the lives of their father and mother as well as trying to understand the role of Stanley’s art in all this.

  • Francis Hanly
  • Francis Hanly
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    60,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • The Grierson Awards
    United Kingdom
    Nomination Best Arts Documentary
  • The Royal Television Awards
    United Kingdom
    Nomination Best Director Factual
Director Biography - Francis Hanly

Francis Hanly, over a long career as a director and cameraman, has made profiles of major figures from the arts world such as George Martin and Pavarotti. He’s had a long-standing collaboration with Jonathan Meades on his television essays and with composer/broadcaster Howard Goodall in his musical explorations. His film on the songwriting talents of Lennon and McCartney received a Royal Television Award and was nominated for a BAFTA. His film on Stanley Spencer’s Daughters was nominated for a Grierson award and an RTS Award.

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Director Statement

Filmed over 18 Months - this portrait of the reconciliation of two sisters at the end of their lives - was a profoundly intense experience for me as a director.