Charles Clore

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Charles Clore
Born(1904-12-26)26 December 1904[1][2][3]
London, England
Died26 July 1979(1979-07-26) (aged 74)
Westminster, London, England[4]

Sir Charles Clore (26 December 1904 – 26 July 1979) was a British financier, retail and property magnate and philanthropist.

Life and career[edit]

Clore was of Lithuanian-Jewish background, the son of Israel Clore, a Whitechapel tailor who had emigrated to London, and later to Palestine.[5][6] Charles Clore owned, through Sears Holdings, the British Shoe Corporation and Lewis's department stores (which included Selfridges), as well as investing heavily in property.[7]

He owned Jowett Cars Ltd from 1945–1947 where he was known as "Santa Clore" for his much anticipated financial investment. His philanthropic trust, the Clore Foundation, is a donor to arts and Jewish community projects in Britain and abroad. The Clore Gallery at Tate Britain in London, which houses the world's largest collection of the works of J. M. W. Turner, was built in 1980–87 with £6 million from Clore and his daughter and £1.8 million from the British government.[8] He was knighted in 1971 for his philanthropic work.[9]

Sir Charles and his wife Francine had two children, Vivien and Alan Evelyn Clore. Clore Shipping Company had two oil tankers, the Vivien Louise and the Alan Evelyn.[10][11]

Upon Sir Charles' death, Inland Revenue sued, claiming he was British domiciled (he had claimed Monaco domicile), in order to collect inheritance taxes. The court upheld the Inland Revenue position.[12]

In September 1980 thieves stole 19 paintings from Clore's Monaco apartment, including works by Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Utrillo. Clore's butler was found lying on the floor of the apartment after the theft, claiming that he had been attacked by the thieves, but was later found to have collaborated with them. The butler later committed suicide in Monaco's prison.[13]

Clore was loosely connected to the Profumo affair, being a client of Christine Keeler.[14] Clore was depicted in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musical based on the affair, Stephen Ward the Musical. In 2014 Clore's daughter, Vivien Duffield, saw the musical with William Astor, whose father, William Astor, 3rd Viscount Astor, was also depicted.[15] Clore owned several good racehorses, notably Valoris which won the Epsom Oaks in 1966.[16]

The beachfront Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv is named after Clore. His father, who died in 1933, is buried in nearby Petah Tikvah.


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
  2. ^ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965
  3. ^ New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967
  4. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
  5. ^ "Obituary: Sir Charles Clore". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 27 July 1979. p. 17.
  6. ^ "No sweet Charity". The Guardian. London, UK.
  7. ^ Richard Davenport-Hines, "Clore, Sir Charles (1904–1979)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  8. ^ "Critiques of the Clore Gallery". Archived from the original on 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2006-03-30.
  9. ^ "SIR CHARLES CLORE, FINANCIER, DIES AT 74". New York Times. July 27, 1979. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  10. ^ Shipbuilding & Shipping Record: A Journal of Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Dock, Harbours & Shipping. 1956. p. 372.
  11. ^ Petroleum Times. 1959.
  12. ^ Judgment in BTC-8101
  13. ^ "Butler's suicide". The Guardian, August 6, 1981.
  14. ^ "An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo by Richard Davenport-Hines – review". The Guardian. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  15. ^ "William Astor: My father, his swimming pool and the Profumo scandal". The Spectator. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  16. ^ O'Brien, Jacqueline; Herbert, Ivor (2006). "Vincent O'Brien: The Official Biography". Transworld Publishers Limited – via Google Books.

See also[edit]