CLARKE, Helen Savile (1840-1898)

1840 - 1898

Helen Savile Clarke

As Helen Weatherill, she was born at Guisborough, Yorkshire in late 1840 and baptised on 5 April 1842, fifth of the eight children of William Weatherill (21 January 1806-13 January 1873), an attorney & solicitor, and his wife Ann née Jackson (1809-30 May 1880), who married in Yorkshire on 9 January 1833. Helen married at Guisborough on 27 April 1865, Henry Clarke (14 February 1841-5 October 1893), a well-known journalist, composer, and author. It is not clear when the name ‘Savile’ was added, but it seems always to have been part of Henry's name as a writer. In 1866 they set up a home in London, firstly at 7 Leamington Road Villas, Paddington and a few years later at 20 Alexander Street, Westbourne Park, naming the house 'Cleveland Lodge' and where they lived for the rest of their lives. They had three daughters Clara Savile born 13 January 1869, Margaret Helen born 31 August 1870 and Catherine Dawson born 1872. Helen's husband was a member of the Arts Club, founded in 1863 by Dickens and others 'for the purpose of facilitating the social intercourse of those connected, either professionally or as amateurs, with Art, Literature, or Science', members included writers and artists such as Swinburne, Whistler, Tenniel, Du Maurier and Rossetti and they were close friends of George Augustus Henry Sala, the flamboyant and exuberant bohemian journalist and illustrator. In 1885, when Henry's political verse was published in book form as 'The Modern Macbeth', they spent some weeks in Ipswich electioneering, Henry appearing on the platform at meetings on behalf of the Tory candidate, Colonel Bagot-Chester. During the 1880s, Helen had developed an artistic career of her own and had lessons in water-colour painting from Peter Peterson Toft (1825-1901) and then took a course of study at the Royal Female School of Art in Bloomsbury. Helen confined herself to landscapes in water-colour and in pastels with most of her pastel work being done in Brittany, but it is clear from the titles of her pieces that she painted a great deal in Suffolk. She and Henry seem to have been very fond of Southwold and often stayed there and on 26 August 1886 the 'Ipswich Journal' noted that Helen had donated a picture of Walberswick Mill to the church bazaar in aid of the organ fund. She became a member of the Society of Lady Artists, now the Society of Women Artists, and her work was exhibited both there and at the Female Artists in Brussels. She also exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery when she exhibited in 1882 'At Southwold', in 1883 'Old Mill Walberswick', in 1884 'Southwold from the Common', in 1885 'Sketch at Southwold' and in 1886 'Walberswick Harbour', she also exhibited at the New Gallery when she exhibited 'The Skate’s Nose, Walberswick'. Helen Savile Clarke died at 15 Cadogan Square, Chelsea, London on 26 January 1898.

Works by This Artist