CLARKE, Geoffrey Cyril Petts

1924 - 2014

Geoffrey Clarke

Born at Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire on 28 November 1924, son of John Moulding Clarke (28 July 1889-1956), an architect, and his wife Alice Ada [Janet] née Petts (25 June 1902-1949), who married at St Mary, South Darley, Derbyshire in 1923 and in 1939 were living at 55 Watling Street, Fulwood, Lancashire. Geoffrey Clarke studied at Preston School of Art 1940-1941 and at Manchester School of Art 1941-1942 before serving in the War with the RAF. He returned to his studying at Lancaster and Morecambe School of Arts and Crafts 1947-1948, before attending the Royal College of Art in 1948, where he remained until 1952. An artist & sculptor who exhibited at the Royal Academy, Redfern Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Fine Art Society and elsewhere. In 1951 he was awarded a Royal College Travelling Scholarship and also received the silver medal at the Milan Triennale for a collaboration with Robin Day, the furniture designer. He married at Leigh, Lancashire in 1947 Ethelwynne Tyrer and they had two sons. Clarke built a small foundry in a barn beside the house, Stowe Hill, that he and his future wife, Ethelwynne Tyrer, known as Bill, had chanced on while driving through Suffolk in 1954. So successful were his early aluminium pieces that this quickly grew into a larger workshop, run with the help of assistants – the couple’s son, Jonathan, now himself a sculptor, would be one – and with a polystyrene cutting room attached. Works such as the 'Battersea Park' series of the early 1960s show the imprint of their hands-on fabrication, a rough-hewn, bark-like quality that gives them the look of a medieval take on Anthony Caro’s contemporaneous 'Early One Morning'. He returned to the Royal College 1968-1973, where he was Head of Light Transmission and Projection Department. Clarke’s first solo show was held at Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, in 1952, the same year in which his work was included in the Venice Biennale and he was selected for British Sculptors ‘72, at the Royal Academy of Arts and for British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1981. He lived at Stowe Hill House, Hartest, Bury St Edmund's where he died 30 October 2014.

Works by This Painter