Joseph Benwell Clark self portrait 1889
Photo credit: Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. The photograph may also be viewed at the Art.uk website.
Born at Cerne Abbas, Dorset, Clark was a son of William Henry Clark, linen draper, and his wife Christian Ann Benwell Ellisdon, and was baptized into the Church of England on 24 July 1857. His parents had married at Haggerston, East London, in 1846, and both his grandfathers were drapers. His middle name, Benwell, came from his maternal grandmother, who was Sarah Lovelock Benwell before marrying William Ellisdon.
A important painting by Benwell Clark of the interior of a Cerne cottage is in the Hardy’s Wessex Exhibition at the newly enlarged and refurbished Dorset County Museum in Dorsester, Dorset. The painting has recently been sympathetically restored and received learned acclaim.
We are very grateful to the Clark Family for a transcript of his diaries from 1920 to 1929, prepared by Jennifer Clark. These are held in the Society archives.