E. Clive Rouse

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Edward Clive Rouse MBE (born Stroud, Gloucestershire, 15 October 1901, died Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, 28 July 1997) was an English archaeologist and writer on archaeology, specializing in mediaeval wall paintings, and was President of the Royal Archaeological Institute from 1969 to 1972. He was known as Clive Rouse and was always credited as E. Clive Rouse.

Background and early life[edit]

The son of Edward Foxwell Rouse (a furniture-maker in Acton, west London) and his wife Frances Sarah Sams (whose family had been dairymen to Buckingham Palace), Rouse was educated at St. Ronan's School, Worthing, then Gresham's School, Holt, and the St Martin's School of Art.


After training as an artist, Rouse developed a passion for mediaeval wall paintings and worked with E. W. Tristram, Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, on their recording and conservation. With assistants, he spent years removing or reducing wax coatings which had mistakenly been added to paintings and reconserving them using authentic materials, particularly slaked lime.

He was also a lecturer and worked to educate clergy and church architects in the care of wall paintings.

He collected Chinese armorial porcelain, and built up the largest private collection in England. He gave away many pieces, some to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

He never married and never learnt to drive, preferring to ride a bicycle.

War Service[edit]

Rouse served from 1939 to 1945 with the Intelligence unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was awarded the MBE for services to the Medmenham Central Interpretation Unit.


  • Guide to Buckinghamshire (1935)
  • The Old Towns of England (1936)
  • Collins Guide to English Parish Churches (1958)
  • Discovering Wall Paintings (1968)
  • Mediaeval Wall Paintings (1991, reprinted 1996)

Honours and other positions[edit]