Dickens Caricatures by Clayton Clarke

Dickens Caricatures by Clayton Clarke
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Joseph Clayton Clarke (1856 – 1937), who worked under the pseudonym ‘Kyd’, was a British artist best known for his illustrations of the characters from the novels of Charles Dickens.
Clarke had many occupations during his lifetime, including designer of cigarette cards, postcards and as a fore-edge painter principally specializing in characters from the works of Charles Dickens. He worked for Punch for only one day and then as a freelance artist until 1900.
Clarke’s Dickens illustrations first appeared in 1887 in Fleet Street Magazine, with two published collections appearing shortly after as The Characters of Charles Dickens (1889) and Some Well Known Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens (1892). Early in the twentieth century five sets of postcards based on his Dickens drawings were published, as well as seven sets of non-Dickensian comic cards.
From the 1920s Clarke earned his living from watercolor sketches, mainly of Dickens’ characters, which he sold to and through the London book trade. Frederic G. Kitton referred to Clarke in his book Dickens and His Illustrators (1890), by which time Clarke’s watercolors were already being bought by major Dickens collectors.[1] The auction of the Dickens collection of F W Cosens FSA of Clapham Park, held at Christie’s on 17 May 1890, sold a collection of 241 of Clarke’s Dickens watercolors, and Tom Wilson, at the time the foremost collector of Dickens, owned 331 of Clarke’s drawings.
"As a character ‘Kyd’ emulated those of Dickens and his own illustrations – slightly larger than life. In his style and dress he was mildly flamboyant for the period. He seldom varied his attire from a grey suit, spats, homburg hat, gloves and was never without a carnation or substitute flower in his button hole."[2]
In 1910 the British Museum acquired a collection of 598 drawings and paintings of Clarkes’s Dickens illustrations, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Charles Dickens Museum and the University of Texas at Austin each also have significant collections of Clarke’s Dickens illustrations.[3]
One of his illustrations of Mr Pickwick from The Pickwick Papers was issued as a stamp by the Royal Mail in 2012 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.[4]
Clarke died in Hammersmith in London in 1937.

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