A Century of Giving
Section Two: 1937-1967
Mid-20th century consolidation: Louis Clarke & Carl Winter
In 1937, Louis Clarke was appointed successor to Sir Sydney Cockerell as Director. A great collector, with wide ranging tastes, Clarke also made a significant impact on the Fitzwilliam. In addition to some 2,700 items given in his lifetime, he bequeathed the Museum his own collection of paintings, drawings, prints and decorative arts.
For most of Clarke's directorship, Britain was at war. During this time - although the collections were largely dispersed for safekeeping - Clarke organised many temporary exhibitions in the Museum. He also used the Friends' fund to snap up bargains in the war-time salerooms, including a portrait by Peter Lely (now identified as Mary Parsons) for only £4, and a rare album of 18th century woodblocks prints by the great Japanese printmaker Utamaro.
Clarke retired in 1946, although he continued his association as Honorary Keeper of Prints. To commemorate his retirement, the Friends commissioned a bust of him from the sculptor, Jacob Epstein.
The post-war period, under Carl Winter (1946-1966) and Jack Goodison (acting Director 1966-7), was a time of both consolidation and considerable expansion of the collections.
Although money remained scarce in the Museum, important acquisitions continued to be made, thanks to the support of the Friends. They included the Beauvais tapestry of Apollo & Clytie (given 1949) which now graces the Courtauld staircase, and the Lute Book of Lord Herbert (given 1956) which reinforced the strong musical theme of the collection.
By 1952, the Director was able to report:
There is scarcely a wall, or a case, that does not exhibit one or more admirable works of art given during the last 44 years by the Friends. It is impossible to imagine the Fitzwilliam without this ever-growing array of familiar, favourite objects which it owes to the collective effort, the practical personal regard and generosity of this body.
Portrait of the Month:
Print of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, presented to the Museum by Louis Clarke