Studio Interior by Norman Clark, watercolour over pen and ink, 1961, available for £2800 from Harry Moore-Gwyn.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The British artist Norman Clark (1913-92) was lauded as a young artist but eschewed fame, spending the bulk of his career living in Hurstpierpoint and teaching at Brighton College of Art.

Studio still-lifes, such as the one shown above, were a favourite subject during his time in the village.

He would occupy three homes after moving there in 1947 and he completed this kind of composition in all of them.

The one in question depicts his studio in Applegarth house, making use of the window to frame another scene beyond the principal composition, another device the artist employed often.

The watercolour over pen and ink is on offer at Harry Moore-Gwyn’s retrospective on the artist, which presents 47 pictures from Clark’s estate at the dealer’s St James’s, London, gallery from May 30 to June 13.

London debut

It is the first London retrospective for the artist.

A member of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) and well-respected in his day, he eludes categorisation. He was impressed by the Vorticists, particularly Paul Nash, though he never followed them completely, nor could he be called one of the neo-Romantics and he avoided abstraction completely.

The figures that populate his most commercially successful post-war pictures are sometimes painterly, sometimes illustrative and sometimes caricature.

Running through his works is a love of nature, eye for English architecture and an interest in everyday life.


Neighbours by Norman Clark, watercolour over pen and ink, priced around £6500 from Harry Moore-Gwyn.

Clark studied at the Royal Academy Schools, winning the Edwar Stott Prize in Historical Painting, the Landseer Prize and the Gold Medal for Painting and the Leverhulme Scholarship in quick succession.

After his degree he married and four years later (1944) was posted to southern Italy with the Royal Engineers. Following his return he moved to Hurstpierpoint and taught at Brighton College of Art (and later Brighton Polytechnic) until 1978.

He exhibited in London through the RWS, often submitting the pictures that highlighted figures, whether as a central focus or alongside landscape and architecture. Many were taken from his imagination, with familiar types recurring: families with young children, walkers, and clergymen.


The Narrow Pavement by Norman Clark, watercolour over chalk and ink, £1750 Harry Moore-Gwyn.

“Characters from the past seem to pose for me in my mind, some of them being deceased relatives, some never seen before,” Clark wrote in 1989.

“I really do rate him,” dealer Moore-Gwyn says. “He has a claim I think to be a better-known figure from the half-generation after Bawden and Ravilious.”n