A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
Jesu Salvator Mundi
Bas Relief of the head of Christ in black slate with the inscription beneath – ‘Jesu Salvator Mundi’ by P. Lindsey Clark 1930. Gift of the Sisters of St Clotilde, Lechlade.
Philip Lindsey Clark, son of Robert Lindsey Clark (see “The Broken Limber”), was a pupil in his father’s studio at Martyns of Cheltenham but in 1910 moved to London.
‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, Antony Rowe Ltd, 1998:
P. 133, ‘Closely associated with the casting department were the sculptors, carvers and modellers who produced the originals from which the casting was taken. Paramount at Martyns were the sculptors, artists who worked from their own ideas and created the whole work of art. One of these was Robert Lindsey Clark R.S.B.S., one of this country’s finest sculptors, who was referred to in an earlier chapter. He started with the company in its very early days prior to the move from the High Street.
Robert Lindsey Clark was apprenticed to Martyns in the early 1900s and soon showed evidence of his skill as a sculptor, which led in 1911 to his being made a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, an elite of only 200. His talents were soon recognised at Martyns and in 1905 he was appointed Chief Sculptor and was already exhibiting at the Royal Academy and the Liverpool Walker Art Gallery. Liverpool Corporation awarded Lindsey Clark first prize of £100 for his design for the Queen Victoria Memorial. His connections with Martyns were severed for a time after his marriage when he left to study at the Lambeth School. Later he returned as head sculptor and art director, a position which he held until his death in 1925. Among his many works, some of them were very large indeed, the one for which Robert Lindsey Clark was most acclaimed was his bronze sculpture called ‘The Broken Limber’. Generally regarded as his most successful work, it received universal admiration at the 1924 Royal Academy Exhibition. The piece depicted an eighteen pounder gunlimber of the Royal Horse Artillery of the 1914-1918 war. The two horses, lunging to drag the limber from the mud are perfectly sculptured to show the strength of each muscle. The experienced soldier riding the near side horse is controlling the pair in spite of the broken limber pole which has given under the strain. Jimmy Babbage, who lived in Market Street and who did short hauls for Martyns with his horse and cart, sitting up front in flat cap and fine moustache, stood with his horse for the sculptor to work from for many hours. Three copies were cast at the foundry by Mr. Edwards and his team. One is in the Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery, another was purchased by John Player of the tobacco company and the third by A.W. Martyn. He was greatly impressed by the work and it graced his home, The Hearne at Charlton Kings, to be admired by many who visited there…
One of the great disappointments to the staff and men working at Martyns at this time was that the ‘Broken Limber’ was not chosen as Cheltenham’s War Memorial. It would have cost the town £200 more than the present stone obelisk made by Boltons (sic), but the committee of the time turned it down. But what a marvellous attraction and spectacle it would have been now in the Promenade cast life size as was intended!
The Lindsey Clark family carry on the tradition as sculptors. Philip Lindsey Clark was a pupil in his father’s studio at Martyns but in 1910 moved to London. He had a notable career as a sculptor. Robert’s grandson Michael Clark (he dropped the Lindsey) is the third generation to be made a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, unique in the Society. How fortunate Martyns was to have the talent and art direction of Robert Lindsey Clark almost from the start of the company until he died in 1925…’
‘Image of Carmel – The Art of Aylesford’:
PHILIP LINDSEY CLARK
‘By any standards, one of the country’s foremost sculptors. First exhibited a sculpture in the Royal Academy in 1920, first exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1921. Palm of the Order of Crown of Belgium, 1932. Great variety of work outside Aylesford includes Cameronians War Memorial (1914-18), Glasgow, St Saviour’s War Memorial, Southwark, Belgian Soldiers Memorial, Kensal Green, and works in Westminster Cathedral, and the Church of the English Martyrs, Wallasey. Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Son of a sculptor, father of sculptor Michael Clark, whose work is also illustrated in this book.’
Michael Clark writes in 1974:
‘My father is now 85 and retired in the West Country. He first went to Aylesford on October 31, 1949, the very day that the Carmelites officially repossessed their ancient House. The first thing he was asked to do was to design the altar for the lower chapel which had to be ready for the first Christmas Eve. It was ready – just. The last stone was put into place on Christmas Eve and midnight Mass was celebrated at that altar while the cement was still wet. He also designed the temporary altar erected on the site of the first church, now occupied by the Main Shrine.
My father is a Carmelite tertiary and I am sure he took a particular pleasure in sculpting the statues of the Scapular Vision and of St Simon Stock because these are the great spiritual linchpins of the present day Carmelite Order in England. The two St Teresas are also among the great and glorious company of Carmelite saints.
It was Philip Lindsey Clark who introduced Adam Kossowski and his works to Father Malachy Lynch and this was the beginning of so many great things.’
‘Son of Philip Lindsey Clark, went to the city of London Art School on leaving the Army after World War II. Fellow of the royal Society of British Sculptors since 1960 and was elected President for a five year term in 1971. In 1960, awarded the Otto Beit Medal for Sculpture for his statue of the Virgin of the Glorious Assumption at Aylesford. Sculpture in many churches and other places throughout the country includes the figure of Christ erected over the west door of Westminster Abbey in 1967 during the celebrations of the ninth century of the church’s foundation. Sculptor and liturgical adviser in the restoration of the early 19th century Church of Our Lady, St John’s Wood, London.’
‘I have a deep sense of gratitude that I was privileged through my sculpture to play a part in the restoration of The Friars, and its revival of Christian life in the south east of England.
The beginning, however, was not quite so uplifting. I had just left art school after three years and had a wife and five children to keep. The first I knew of work to be done at Aylesford was a telephone call from my father asking me to come there to paint a clock in the Rufus tower. I was a bit huffy about this: I was a sculptor not a re-toucher of clocks. Nevertheless I went. As a result of this visit, I was asked to carve a small St Joseph on the gatehouse for the sisters who were living there…’
‘St Aidan’s East Acton – The Church and Its Art’:
‘CLARK, P. Lindsey, D.S.O., F.R.B.S., b. 1889. Sculptor. Studied under his father then City Guilds School and R.A. Schools. His first two commissions, won in competition, were war memorials for the Borough, London, and for the “Cameronians”, Glasgow. Over 30 works exhibited at R.A. etc. Works at: Westminster Cathedral, Aylesford Priory and elsewhere.’
‘St Anthony of Padua by P. Lindsey Clark (Lime Wood)’
‘Westminster Cathedral – Building of Faith’:
‘From 1923 there was a wooden reredos behind the High Altar. In 1927 this was replaced with a small painted screen with an icon representing the head of Christ, serving to cover the gestures of the Master of Music as he conducted the choir. This was replaced in 1929 by a screen of white Carrara marble set with a bas-relief of Christ holding the chalice of his redeeming blood, carved in Hopton Wood stone by Lindsey Clark. It bears the inscription:
‘Domine Jesu Rex et Redemptor per sanguinem tuum salva nos’ (Lord Jesus, King and Redeemer, save us by your blood)
Underneath the carving is a verse from the Te Deum:
Te Ergo Quaesumus tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti’ (We beseech you therefore come to the aid of your servants whom you have redeemed by your precious blood)
Westminster Cathedral Chronicle, May 1929:
‘Behind the high altar, in the centre of the retro-apse, is a screen of white Carrara marble with a bas-relief in Hopton Wood stone showing a figure of Our Lord seated, holding in his left hand a full chalice, His right hand being raised in blessing. The wounds in hands and feet are shown. On one side is the text, “Domine Jesu Rex et Redemptor.” It is balanced by the text on the other side, “Per Sanguinem Tuum Salva Nos.” So that the prayer on the shrine is “O Lord Jesus, King and Redeemer, save us through Thy Blood”. Underneath is the verse from the Te Deum, “Te ergo Quaesumus tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.” It is the prayer of Our Lord: “We beseech Thee therefore to help Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy Precious Blood.” The purpose of the screen is to conceal the movements of the choir conductor without preventing the choir seeing what takes place in the sanctuary.’
‘Catholic Churches since 1623’ by Bryan Little:
P. 204 (Aylesford): ‘Chapel for the community have been fitted up in the medieval ranges; here and elsewhere in the present-day friary paintings by Mr. Adam Kossowski and sculpture by Lindsey and Michael Clark add touches of modernity to a generally traditional scene.’
‘Catholic Churches of London’ by Denis Evinson:
P. 28, ‘Sculpted works by Philip Lindsey Clark appears at Westminster Cathedral, Pimlico and Streatham Hill; and by his son Michael at St. John’s Wood, Kingsland, Kensington Our Lady of Victories, Streatham and Harrow Road.’
P. 36, Westminster Cathedral – St George’s Chapel ‘Against the left wall is a figure of St George by Philip Lindsey Clark, flanked by memorial panels to service personnel.’
P. 38, Westminster Cathedral – Sanctuary ‘Behind it, a bas-relief by Philip Lindsey Clark in Hopton Wood stone conceals the conductor.’
P. 55, Holy Apostles, Pimlico ‘ The Stations of the Cross were executed by Philip Lindsey Clark…’
P. 183, Ss. Simon and Jude, Streatham Hill, ‘St Joseph by Philip Clark’.
‘Modern Art in English Churches by Michael Day:
Aylesford, Kent, The Priory – Philip L. Clark sculpture (1949) The Scapular Vision
– Michael Clark sculpture (1960) The Assumption
Westminster Cathedral – Philip L. Clark sculpture St George
‘A Guide and History of Hawkesyard Priory and Spode House by Fr. Columba Ryan , O.P. 1962:
‘The statue of Blessed Martin, at the entrance to the Lady Chapel, was carved by Mr. P. Lindsay (sic) Clark in 1951.