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Clarke, Louis C. G.

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Louis Colville Gray Clarke

    Other Names:

    • Louis Clarke

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1881

    Date Died: 1960

    Place Born: Croydon, Greater London, England, UK

    Place Died: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): connoisseurship

    Career(s): directors (administrators)

    Institution(s): Fitzwilliam Museum


    Art connoisseur and director, Fitzwilliam Museum, 1937-1946. Clarke succeeded Sydney Cockerell as Director in 1937. For most of his tenure, Britain was at war. Clarke oversaw the move and collections to safekeeping (museums were possible targets of German bombing). Still, he organized temporary exhibitions in the Museum for the public. Astutely, he used museum funds to buy important work at when the war had depressed the market. An art collector, he donated 2,700 items in his lifetime. These included a portrait by Peter Lely (identified today as Mary Parsons) for £4 (!), and the 18th century woodblocks prints by Utamaro. He retired from the Museum in 1946, remaining as an honorary keeper of the museum. Carl Winter was his successor.

    Clarke lacked formal training in art history. His connection with the art world, included collectors and the sale rooms, made him desirable to head the museum.


    Jaffé, A. M. “Clarke, Louis Colville Gray (1881–1960)” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; “A Century of Giving.” section 2. Fitzwilliam Museum

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Clarke, Louis C. G.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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