CLÉRISSEAU, CHARLES LOUIS (1721–1820), architectural draughtsman, was born in Paris in 1721. He entered the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture, and in 1746 gained the 'prix de Rome' for architecture. This led to a residence of many years in Rome, where he made numerous drawings of architectural remains, which are remarkable for their extraordinary facility of execution, and are highly esteemed. Among those with whom he at that time became acquainted were Winckelmann and Robert Adam [q. v.], the latter of whom he assisted in making the drawings for his 'Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia,' published in 1764. With Winckelmann he kept up a correspondence, extracts from which are printed in the 'Briefe an seine Freunde' of the great German archæologist. In 1771 he resolved to come to London, where he was already known by his works, and while resident here he exhibited tinted drawings of ruins and architectural subjects at the Society of Artists in Spring Gardens and at the Royal Academy between 1772 and 1790. The bankruptcy of Adam led to the return of Clérisseau to France, where in 1778 he projected the 'Antiquités de la France,' of which the first part, the 'Monumens de Nismes,' alone appeared. A new edition, with additional plates, and an historical and descriptive text by J. G. Legrand, was published in two folio volumes at Paris in 1806. In 1769 he was elected an academician, his reception works being two compositions of architectural ruins executed in body-colours, and between 1773 and 1808 he exhibited occasionally at the Salon both paintings and drawings of architectural subjects. Late in 1783 the Empress Catherine II, always magnificent in her ideas, conceived the project of building a palace exactly like that of the Roman emperors, and Clérisseau, who had made ancient buildings his special study, was recommended to her as a person competent to direct this grand undertaking. He at once set out for Russia, where he was appointed first architect to the empress, and elected a member of the Academy of St. Petersburg, but the scheme was abandoned, and there is no record of what he did while there. He returned to France some time before the revolution, which scarcely at all affected his reputation and position, for he retired into the country, and seldom went to Paris. Under the empire he received the Legion of Honour. He painted occasionally in oil-colours, but he is best known by his fine drawings in water-colours of the remains of classical architecture, in which the figures were often inserted by Antonio Zucchi. As an architect he built the Hotel du Gôuvernement at Metz.
Clérisseau died at Auteuil, in the suburbs of Paris, on 19 Jan. 1820, in his ninety-ninth year. The Louvre possesses three of his drawings, and there is one of 'Roman Ruins' in the museum at Orleans. A drawing of 'Tivoli,' executed in body-colours in 1769, is in the South Kensington Museum. There is also a drawing of 'Ruins,' in pastel, in the Florence Gallery. Twenty volumes of drawings from the antique, made during his residence in Italy, are in the possession of the emperor of Russia.
[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists of the English School, 1878; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves, 1886; Bellier de La Chavignerie's Dictionnaire général des Artistes de 1'Ecole Française, 1868, &c., i. 265; Bachaumont's Mémoires Secrets, 1776, &c., vii. 99; Dussieux's Artistes Français a l'étranger, 1856, pp. 141, 413.]
CLERK. [See also Clark, Clarke, and Clerke.]
CLERK, Sir GEORGE (1787–1867), statesman, elder son of James Clerk, by his wife, Janet, daughter of George Irving of Newton, Lanarkshire, and grandson of Sir George Clerk Maxwell [q. v.], was born on 19 Nov. 1787, and educated at the High School, Edinburgh, and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he was admitted on 21 Jan. 1806. His father died in 1793, and in 1798 he succeeded his uncle, Sir John Clerk, as the sixth baronet. He was admitted an advocate in 1809, and created a D.C.L. of Oxford 5 July 1810. At a bye-election in the following year he was elected M.P. for Midlothian, for which constituency he continued to sit in the next six parliaments. On 5 March 1819 Clerk was appointed one of the lords of the admiralty in the Liverpool administration. This post he held until May 1827, when he became clerk of the ordnance. He was gazetted one of the council of the Duke of Clarence, the lord high admiral, 4 Feb. 1828, but upon the duke's resignation was reappointed a lord of the admiralty. On 5 Aug. 1830 he became under-secretary for the home department for the few remaining months of the Wellington administration. At the first general election after the passing of the Reform Bill, which took place in December 1832, Clerk lost his seat for Midlothian, being defeated by Sir John Dalrymple (afterwards eighth earl of Stair), the whig candidate, by 601 to 536. He was re-elected, however, in January 1835 for his old constituency, but at the next general election, in August 1837, was