Clarke, Charles (d.1840) (DNB00)

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CLARKE, CHARLES (d. 1840), antiquary, was appointed a clerk in the ordnance office at Chatham in 1783. Seven years later he was transferred to Gravesend, and in 1800 to Guernsey, where he remained until his retirement from the service in 1807 (Royal Kalendar). He died on 30 May 1840 in his eightieth year, and was buried in Old St. Pancras churchyard, London (inscription in Cansick's Epitaphs of St. Pancras, i. 128). Clarke was devoted to archæology, a branch of antiquities which he was well qualified to illustrate both by his pencil and pen. His youthful essays in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ under the signatures of ‘Indagator’ and ‘Indagator Roffensis,’ obtained for him the friendship and the correspondence of the Rev. Samuel Denne, the Kentish antiquary (Nichols, Illustr. of Lit. vi. 610–57). In 1790 Denne communicated to the Society of Antiquaries, as an appendix to his own paper on ‘Stone Seats in the Chancels of Churches,’ some observations by Clarke on the same subject (Archæologia, x. 316–21). Three years afterwards Clarke returned the compliment by addressing to Denne his ‘Observations on Episcopal Chairs and Stone Seats; as also on Piscinas and other appendages to Altars still remaining in Chancels; with a Description of Chalk Church, in the Diocese of Rochester,’ which paper, with four plates from drawings by the author, was printed in ‘Archæologia,’ xi. 317–74. Clarke was elected F.S.A. on 7 April 1796. Other papers from his pen appeared in Britton's ‘Architectural Antiquities’ (vols. i. and iv.). He also revised and prefaced a work left by his near relative, William Oram, entitled ‘Precepts and Observations on the Art of Colouring in Landscape Painting,’ 4to, London, 1810. His other works are: 1. ‘Observations on the intended Tunnel beneath the river Thames, shewing the many defects in the present state of that projection,’ 4to, Gravesend, 1799. The project was that of Ralph Dodd, a well-known engineer, for a subway from Gravesend to Tilbury. Clarke had previously written on the subject in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ vol. lxviii. pt. ii. pp. 565–7. 2. ‘Some Account of the Rise and Progress of Early English Architecture, with descriptional Remarks on the Churches of the Metropolis,’ prefixed to ‘Architectura Ecclesiastica Londini,’ a series of views by John Coney, George Shepherd, and other artists, of the churches of London, published in folio, 1819, and reissued with a new title-page the following year.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. xvii. 342; Smith's Bibliotheca Cantiana, pp. 153, 210, 211; Cruden's Gravesend, p. 459; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816.]

G. G.