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Clark, William

Date and place of birth:
Date and place of death:
(fl) 1820s
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Painted on card
Known materials:
Papier-mache frame


William Clark(e?) was an artist of the early 19th century, known solely through a single silhouette of a young girl which is particularly curious in nature.

It is possible that Clark(e?) attended the Royal Academy School in 1793 at the age of 17 with work exhibited 1801-1810. However, this is not a certainty – neither is the painter’s name given the many silhouettes signed W Clark/Clarke. The sole silhouette attributed to Clark(e?) is framed in papier-mache with a brass acorn ring.

William Clark(e?) was probably not a professional artist; the lack of existent silhouettes alone suggests this, as does the fact that the one found is not very well executed. In particular, the young girl’s eyelashes are painted far too high. However shadow and depth is very well produced with gum Arabic, and the sitter’s costume is highly coloured in blue, pink, gold and white. The girl’s bobbed hair is shown to be incredibly exiguous which indicates, perhaps, illness or disease. Overall very little is known about either artist or sitter but the use of colour in particular makes this example noteworthy.