Painter Lilian Holt was born in 1898 in London, England. She studied at Putney School of Art from 1913 to 1914, before serving in the Women’s Land Army during the First World War, afterwards working for the Prudential Assurance Company, while taking art classes at Regent Street Polytechnic. In 1923 she married art and antiques dealer Jacob Mendelson, with whom she had a daughter, Dinora, in 1924. Although she had no opportunity to paint during this period, she handled works by numerous artists including David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Jacob Kramer and Walter Sickert. In 1928, she renewed her friendship with Bomberg, whom she had first met in 1923 and whose work she had long admired, and divorced from Mendelson later the same year. For the next decade, she largely abandoned painting to support his career and frequently modelled for him; their daughter, Diana, was born in 1935 during an extended painting trip to Spain and they married in 1940. She began painting again, at Bomberg’s instigation, in 1945, and was a member of the Borough Group (1948-52), and its short-lived successor, the Borough Bottega in 1953. Some of her older works were exhibited at the Archer Gallery and the Arcade Gallery. Holt and Bomberg moved to Spain in 1954, returning in 1957, as a result of his failing health. After his death, Holt resumed her painting full-time, also working tirelessly to support his legacy. She travelled extensively, including in Mexico, Turkey, and Iceland. Her first solo exhibition was at the Woodstock Gallery, London in 1971 and a joint exhibition, Paintings and Drawings by David Bomberg (1890-1957) and Lilian Holt, was held at Reading Museum and Art Gallery in the same year. A retrospective of paintings and drawings was held at Ben Uri Gallery in 1980. The following year, Ben Uri mounted the exhibition David Bomberg and Family: David Bomberg, Lilian Holt, Leslie Marr, Dinora Mendelson: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings. Lilian Holt died in London in 1983.
Posthumous exhibitions of her work include the 1992 group exhibition Ten Decades: Careers of Ten Women Artists Born 1897-1906 at the Norwich Gallery, and the solo exhibition A Tribute to Lilian Bomberg at Fischer Fine Art in London in 1985. Her work can be found in public collections including Pallant House Gallery, Reading Museum and Town Hall, and the Tate.