|Dates: ||? - 1859|
An optician, machinist, and engineer based on The Strand in London, Clarke made photographic cameras and lenses by hand in the days before industrial suppliers took over the business. Thomas Sutton recalled that in the early 1840s he bought his first daguerreotype apparatus from Clarke, the complete outfit costing a then astonishing 30 pounds. Sutton was not entirely happy with his purchase, reminiscing in the British Journal of Photography that “a more wretchedly planned affair can hardly be conceived.” To address his concerns, he called on Clarke, who “showed me a large calotype portrait which he had himself taken, and which induced me to abandon silver plates in favour of paper.” No surviving photographs by Clarke are known.
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012.
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