Geoffrey Clarke

The death of Geoffrey Clarke deprives us of one of the significant sculptors of 20th C Britain. Born in 1924 (and obituary recently in the Guardian), his public sculpture can be found extensively at Coventry Cathedral, and also at Chichester Cathedral. Whether he was a “religious” artist is a moot point; on the other hand, perhaps like Graham Sutherland, he was a modern artist sufficiently sympathetic to religion to work comfortably in Church settings and his work at Coventry, for example, is very powerful. It also holds its own in the company of the great work by Sutherland (huge tapestries) and Piper (stained glass), which might have overwhelmed a lesser artist. Whether being associated with such commissions helped Clarke’s career is of course another matter. The whole vexed question of 20th C British “religious” art and its effect on the careers of those involved is a subject for discussion.