CLARKE, Geoffrey Cyril Petts

1924 - 2014

Geoffrey Clarke

Geoffrey Cyril Petts Clarke, was 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 studied at Preston School of Art 1940-1941 and at Manchester School of Art 1941-1942, before serving in the Second World War with the RAF. He returned to his studies 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, awarded a Royal College Travelling Scholarship and also received the silver medal at the Milan Triennale for a collaboration with Robin Day (1915-2010), the furniture designer. He married at Leigh, Lancashire in 1947, Ethelwynne Tyrer, known as Bill, and they had two sons. Clarke built a small foundry in a barn beside the house, Stowe Hill, Hartest, that he and his future wife, had come across whilst driving through Suffolk in 1954. So successful were his early aluminium pieces that this foundry quickly grew into a larger workshop, with a polystyrene cutting room attached, run with the help of assistants, one being the couple’s son, Jonathan Clarke, now himself a sculptor. 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'. Geoffrey returned to the Royal College 1968-1973, where he was Head of Light Transmission and Projection Department. Clarke’s first solo show was at Gimpel Fils Gallery, London in 1952, the same year in which his work was included in the Venice Biennale. Clarke 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 Artist