Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Clarke, Harriet Ludlow

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CLARKE, HARRIET LUDLOW (d. 1866), artist and wood engraver, was the fourth daughter of Edward Clarke, a solicitor in London. Having a turn for art, and wishing to earn an independent living, she adopted about 1837 the practice, unusual for a woman, of engraving on wood. She attracted the notice of William Harvey, the eminent wood engraver, and in 1838 executed a large cut from his design in the ‘Penny Magazine.' By the help of his instruction, and by her own industry, she was enabled to realise a considerable financial reward for her labours, and this she employed on the erection of some model labourers’ dwellings at Cheshunt. Among her numerous friends she counted Mrs. Jameson, for whom she executed some of the illustrations to ‘Sacred and Legendary Art.’ Not satisfied with her success in this department of art, she aspired to become a designer and painter on lass, and laboured hard by constant study at home and abroad to master the principles of this art. She was assisted in her endeavours by Mr. Wailes of Newcastle, himself a successful artist in stained glass. About 1851 she executed a window in St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, for the Hon. Daniel Finch, who was then engaged in the restoration of that ancient edifice; it represents St. Martin dividing his cloak with a beggar. From 1852 to 1854 she was employed on two windows, commissioned by Mr. Henry Berens, for the new church of Sidcup, near Foots Cray in Kent, and on that gentleman's death she received a further commission for a window in the same church, erected by subscription, to his memory. She executed for the gueen a large window in the church of North Marston, Buckinghamshire, to commemorate the bequest to her majesty by Mr. Neald of an estate in that The Rev. Robert Moore employed her to execute a large window in the north-west transept of Canterbury Cathedral, representing the history of St. Thomas à Becket. She prepared full-sized cartoons in colour for this, but failing health prevented her from executing her designs on glass, which were carried out by Mr. Hughes of Frith Street, Soho, the window being put up in May 1863. From this time Miss Clarke was prevented by increasing ill-health and suffering from pursuing her artistic professions. She died 19 Jan. 1866, at Cannes. Her work shows considerable talent, and her industry was indefatigable, but she was deficient in real genius and originality. Besides the windows mentioned, there is a small memorial window by her in the aforesaid church of St. Martin’s at Canterbury.

[Gent. Mag. 1866, 4th ser. i. 436; private information.]

L. C.