Joseph Clark was born on 4th of July 1834 at Cerne Abbas, Dorset. He was the son of William Henry Clark, a draper and his wife Susanna (née Shepherd). After the death of his father, his mother encouraged her son to move to London to study at the Leigh's Academy, (now Heatherley School of Fine Art) which was set up by James Matthews Leigh in 1848. He later continued his artistic education by enrolling at the Royal Academy School and began specialising in genre scenes.
He made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1857 with ‘The Sick Child’, continuing to exhibit there throughout his life. He also exhibited at the British Institution, Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street, Royal Institute of Oil Painters and New Watercolour Society, as well provincial galleries. By 1861, Clark had become an established artist and kept a house in Islington and Dorset. He married Annie Jones in 1868 and the couple later moved to Hampstead to accommodate his growing family.
In 1875, he was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and also became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. In addition to becoming a highly sought after artist at home, he achieved success abroad winning a medal and award at Philadelphia in 1876 for two paintings that he had sent over for an exhibition. Many of his works are of domestic interiors usually including children and he often used members of his family as models. By 1901, Clark had moved to Harrow-on-the-Hill living at Wendover, Pinner Road. In his later years he relocated to the Kent coast to Ramsgate where he moved to 95 Hereson Road. He died at Ramsgate in 1925 on his birthday, aged 92.
Examples of his work can be found in public collections including the Laing Art Gallery, Maidstone Museum, Newport Museum, Sheffield Museum, Sunderland Museum, Tate and the V&A.
In this work Clark has painted a charming scene of a woman and her children inside a cottage receiving afternoon visitors. Although, not grand the cottage is clean and tidy and full of knick-knacks that serve to make it a comfortable home. The two visitors, a vicar and his wife have arrived bearing gifts. The vicar’s wife hands an ornament in the shape of a cat to the little girl. In her other arm are more items, presumably for the rest of the children. Perhaps not the most suitable present for one so young, this could suggest she is herself childless. However, as the mother does not appear to be too alarmed, it is likely the woman knows the family well and is confident it will be taken good care of. Behind her stands the vicar who looks on kindly with his sermon book under his arm. There is clearly a connection between the two families which Clark continued to explore in in a later painting ‘Early Promise’ dated 1877, where similar figures also appear. In 1870, Clark exhibited a painting at the Royal Academy entitled ‘A Visit from the Rectory’. There is evidence to indicate that this could well be one in the same painting. Clark did not usually give his works obvious titles, instead preferring offer small clues, so in this respect the painting does seem more suited to this title. In addition, the larger than usual size canvas used is more likely to be that of an exhibition piece put forward for the Royal Academy.
|Presentation||The painting is housed in a new English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.|
|Condition||As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having just been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.|
|Image Size||26 inches x 34 inches (66cm x 86.5cm)|
|Framed Size||38 inches x 46 inches (96.5cm x 117cm)|