|1813 - 1873
Born in Ayr and described by the Scotsman as “a man of exquisite taste and fine perception,” Clark sadly had his life cut short by a tramway accident in Edinburgh. At a time when chemical knowledge was essential to industry, he became a prosperous calico printer in Derbyshire. Then, according to his obituary in the British Journal of Photography, Clark set up house in Edinburgh, gathering “round him a circle of friends interested in art and photography.” It was during this early retirement that Clark took up a second career, buying the print shop of Alexander Hill (brother of David Octavius Hill) and expanding the stock with a “higher class of articles of virtu.” He was secretary of the Photographic Society of Scotland and a vice president of the Edinburgh Photographic Society. A prolific exhibitor, Clark was contributing photographs taken by the waxed-paper process as late as 1858. His largest single body of work is an extensive stone-by-stone photographic documentation of Melrose Abbey. For this project, Clark rented a large furnished house nearby, welcomed his photographic friends, and engaged workmen to erect scaffolding to secure the best points of view for photographing the abbey.
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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