|The Right Honourable
The Lord Clark
OM CH KCB FBA
|Born||Kenneth McKenzie Clark
13 July 1903
|Died||21 May 1983
Hythe, Kent, England
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Oxford|
|Occupation||Author, broadcaster, art historian|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Jane Martin (m. 1927; d. 1976)
Nolwen de Janzé-Rice (m. 1977; d. 1989)
Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA (13 July 1903 – 21 May 1983) was a British author, museum director, broadcaster, and one of the best-known art historians and aesthetes of his generation, writing a series of books that appealed to a wide public, while remaining a serious scholar. In 1969, he achieved international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series Civilisation, which pioneered television documentary series combining expert personalized narration with lavish photography on location.
Clark was born in London, the only child of Kenneth MacKenzie Clark and Margaret Alice McArthur. The Clarks were a wealthy Scottish family with roots in the textile trade (the "Clark" in Coats & Clark threading). His great-great-grandfather had invented the cotton spool. Kenneth Clark the elder, reputedly "the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo,"  had retired in 1909 at the age of 41 to become a member of the 'idle rich' (so described by Kenneth Clark in his autobiography, and W. D. Rubinstein in The Biographical Dictionary of Life Peers).
Clark was educated at Wixenford School, Winchester College and Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied the history of art. In 1927 he married a fellow Oxford student, Elizabeth Jane Martin, who was Irish and the daughter of Dr. Emily Winifred Dickson, first female Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. The couple had three children: Alan, in 1928, and twins Colette (known as Celly) and Colin in 1932.
Greatly influenced by John Ruskin and a protégé of the most influential art critic of the time, Bernard Berenson, Clark quickly became the British art establishment's most respected aesthete. After a stint as fine art curator at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, in 1933 at age 30, Clark was appointed director of the National Gallery. He remains the youngest person ever to hold the post. The following year he also became Surveyor of the King's Pictures, a post he held until 1945. As Director of the National Gallery he oversaw the successful relocation and storage of the collection to avoid the Blitz and continued a programme of concerts and performances. In 1939, Clark visited Australia, and later referred to it as "that intolerable continent", adding that Australian galleries had the worst art but the best Victorian pornography in the world.
Clark was not wholly supportive of modern art but was an influential supporter of Henry Moore and, as Chairman of the War Artists' Advisory Committee, he persuaded the government not to conscript artists thus ensuring that Moore found work. As Director of The National Gallery he wrote Southampton Art Gallery's acquisitions policy which included "a growing collection of modern oil paintings". He was also an advisor to the Ministry of Information commissioning Dylan Thomas amongst others to write scripts for propaganda films. In 1946 Clark resigned his directorship in order to devote more time to writing. Between 1946 and 1950 he was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford. He was a founding board member and also served as Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1955 to 1960, and had a major role in the art programme of the 1951 Festival of Britain. In the preface to his book, The Nude: a study of ideal art (1956), Clark wrote, "I soon discovered that the subject is extremely difficult to handle. There is difficulty of form; a chronological survey would be long and repetitive, but almost every other pattern is unworkable. And there is a difficulty of scope; since Jacob Burckhardt no responsible art historian would have attempted to cover both antique and post-mediaeval art."
Kenneth Clark was created Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1938, and made a Companion of Honour (CH) in 1959. He was appointed to the Order of Merit (OM) in 1976. In 1959, he received the Grand Decoration with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria.
Clark the broadcaster
An indefatigable lecturer in both academic and broadcast settings, Clark's mastery was to make accessible complex and profound subject matter that could then be appreciated by an extremely broad audience. He was one of the founders, in 1954, of the Independent Television Authority, serving as its Chairman until 1957. In 1969 he wrote and presented Civilisation for BBC television (the rival of the ITA's stations), a series on the history of Western civilisation as seen through its art. Afterwards Clark was persuaded to write a book version of Civilisation but lamented that without the visual and musical accompaniment it was weak. Also broadcast in the US on PBS in 1969, Civilisation was successful on both sides of the Atlantic, gaining Clark an international profile. According to Clark, the series was created in answer to growing criticism of Western civilisation, from its value system to its heroes. In 1970, the Irish national newspaper TV critics honoured Clark with a Jacob's Award for Civilisation. A later TV series was Romantic Rebellion . In 1970, Clark narrated "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries,” a television program based on the Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial exhibition of the same name.
A self-described "hero-worshipper", Clark proved to be an ardent pro-individualist, humanist, and anti-Marxist. His comments on the subject of 1960s radical university students, quoted from the final televised episode of Civilisation, are but one example of his view of contemporary culture in all its various forms: "I can see them [the students] still through the University of the Sorbonne, impatient to change the world, vivid in hope, although what precisely they hope for, or believe in, I don't know." – Clark, Civilisation, Episode 12.
Clark was chancellor of the University of York from 1967 to 1978 and a trustee of the British Museum. He was awarded a life peerage in 1969, taking the title Baron Clark, of Saltwood in the County of Kent (the British satirical magazine Private Eye nicknamed him Lord Clark of Civilisation). In 1972, he was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath.
In 1975 he supported the campaign to create a separate Turner Gallery for the Turner Bequest, and in 1980 agreed to open a symposium on Turner at the University of York, of which he had been chancellor, but illness compelled him to back out of that commitment, which Lord Harewood undertook in his place.
His wife Jane died in 1976, and the following year Lord Clark married Nolwen de Janzé-Rice, the ex-wife of Edward Rice and daughter of Count Frederic de Janze (a well-known French racing driver of the 1920s and 1930s) by his wife, Alice Silverthorne (better known by her married names as Alice de Janzé or Alice de Trafford), a wealthy American heiress resident in Kenya.
Styles and honours
- Mr Kenneth Clark (1903–38)
- Sir Kenneth Clark KCB (1938–46)
- Prof. Sir Kenneth Clark KCB (1946–49)
- Prof. Sir Kenneth Clark KCB FBA (1949–50)
- Sir Kenneth Clark KCB FBA (1950–59)
- Sir Kenneth Clark CH KCB FBA (1959–69)
- The Rt. Hon. The Lord Clark CH KCB FBA (1969–76)
- The Rt. Hon. The Lord Clark OM CH KCB FBA (1976–83)
Clark's old school, Winchester College, holds an annual art history speaking competition for the Kenneth Clark Prize. The winner of the competition is awarded a golden Lord Clark Medal sculpted by fellow Old Wykehamist, Anthony Smith.
- The Gothic Revival (1928)
- Catalogue of the Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Collection of HM King at Windsor Castle (1935 2 vols)
- Leonardo da Vinci: An Account of his development as an Artist (1939, rev. ed. 1952)
- Florentine Painting: The Fifteenth Century (1945)
- Piero della Francesca (1951)
- Landscape into Art (1949), adapted from his Slade Lectures
- Moments of Vision (1954), the Romanes Lecture for 1954. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- The Nude: a study in ideal form (1956) A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, delivered in 1953.
- Looking at Pictures (1960)
- Ruskin Today (1964) (edited and annotated by)
- Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance (1966)
- The Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Collection of HM Queen at Windsor Castle (1968/9 with Carlo Pedretti 3 vols)
- Civilisation: A Personal View (1969), book version of the television series
- Blake and Visionary Art (1973)
- The Romantic Rebellion (1973), book version of the television series
- A Self-Portrait: Another Part of the Wood (1974) (autobiography)
- A Self-Portrait: The Other Half (1977) (autobiography)
- Animals and Men (1977)
- An Introduction To Rembrandt (1978)
- The Best of Aubrey Beardsley (1978)
- What is a Masterpiece? (1979)
- Feminine Beauty (1980)
- Secrest, Meryle (1984). Kenneth Clark: A Biography. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. p. 6.
- Secrest, p. 31.
- Secrest, pp. 180-181.
- Morgan, D. (2005) The Australian Miscellany, p. 142. Bantam: Sydney. ISBN 1 86325 537 0.
- http://www.culturesouthampton.org.uk/city-art-gallery-0 Retrieved 20 May 2014
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 73. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- The Irish Times, "Controversy is indication of RTÉ's success, says minister", 11 December 1970
- Finding aid for the George Trescher records related to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971 (bulk 1967-1970). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Miranda Carter, The Daily Telegraph, 28 June 2003, "A civilising influence"
- Ceremonies, UK: University of Bath.
- "Kenneth Clark Prize". Winchester College. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- "Kenneth Clark Prize Final". Winchester College. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- Meryle Secrest. Kenneth Clark: A Biography (1984)
- Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation Tate Exhibition (2014)
- Vital Vulgarity Clark's role in the founding of ITV (from the Transdiffusion group of TV history websites)
- http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/message/an/localities.africa.general/435.3 – for Clark's second marriage to Nolwen, and her maternal affiliation
- http://www.cousinconnect.com/d/a/11502 – for Lady Clark's mother
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Kenneth Clark|
- Portraits of Kenneth Clark at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- The Sir Kenneth Mackenzie Clark Collection at the Victoria University Library at the University of Toronto
Sir Ernest Pooley, Bt
|Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain
The Lord Cottesloe
Sir C. H. Collins Baker
|Surveyor of the King's Pictures
|Chancellor of the University of York
|Chairman of the Independent Television Authority
Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick