Saturday 17 November 2018

Rarely seen celebrity portraits by top Irish photographer donated to London gallery

Elle Macpherson by Bob Carlos Clarke National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Elle Macpherson by Bob Carlos Clarke National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Ronnie Wood by Bob Carlos Clarke. National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Rachel Weisz by Bob Carlos Clarke © Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Mick Jagger by Bob Carlos Clarke National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke
National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke
Keith Richards by Bob Carlos Clarke National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Elton John by Bob Carlos Clarke
Bryan Ferry by Bob Carlos Clarke

A selection of rarely seen photographs by the Irish photographer Bob Carlos Clarke have been donated to the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The photographs of high profile figures including Rachel Weisz, Mick Jagger and Marco Pierre White were taken between 1971 and 1998.

Taken by the photographer who died in 2006, the collection has been donated by his widow and daughter. 

Highlights from the collection include portraits of Ronnie Wood and Bryan Ferry, and a portrait of Elton John smiling directly at the camera, which was taken during an album cover shoot in 1991.

A 1987 photo of a young Marco Pierre White, stands as one of the works he was most proud of .  "What happens in the street, a restaurant, a club," Clarke explained, "is actually more intriguing than anything you can invent in the relatively sterile environment of a studio."

Portraits of Elle Macpherson, taken during a 1993 photo shoot and Christopher Lee, shot for a 1993 calendar were also donated to the Gallery by his family. 

Bob Carlos Clarke had a lifestyle which would have been the envy of many.  Cork born, as a  photographer  he specialised in striking and exotic images of beautiful women.

On  a spring day in 2006  Carlos Clarke, 55, left The Priory hospital in south-west London, where he had been a voluntary patient, telling staff he would be gone for about 30 minutes. He walked to a level crossing before throwing himself in front of a Waterloo-bound train.

Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke. National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke
Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke. National Portrait Gallery London / Estate of Bob Carlos Clarke

 Only those in his innermost circle were aware Carlos Clarke, born in Cork to an émigré English family with aristocratic connections, had suffered from severe, clinical depression, the same condition that had affected his mother and her brother, who killed himself at 14.

He appeared to have a solid, 20-year marriage to his wife, Lindsay Rudland, a former model, during which time he photographed some of the world's most beautiful women in often highly erotic fashion. The couple had a daughter, Scarlett, and lived in a  large house in Chelsea.

At the time of his death Carlos Clarke was involved in an exhibition in Barcelona and the hanging of his work in one of Marco Pierre White's restaurants. He also knew the decline in conventional print-based photography was likely to see the value of his work increase.

Tim Jefferies, the director of Hamilton's Gallery, one of London's prime showcases for photographic work, said: "I never saw him in a depressed state ... As with any very talented artistic individual, he had many sides to his character."

(Original source independent.co.uk, additional reporting)

 

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