Joseph Augustine Clarke: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

Joseph Augustine Clarke (1844–1890) early Queensland artist, painter, journal illustrator and arts-teacher.

‘J.A. Clark’, as he commonly signed himself, was responsible for the well-known 1880 oil painting ‘Panorama of Brisbane from Bowen Terrace’ and along with for everything of the well-known front pages and title-illustration used in the Queenslander (see illustration upon this page) during Lukin’s managing editorship of that Journal from 1873 to 1880.

Little is known practically Clark, except that he was born in England as son of John Clark and Mary Shell and that he came to Brisbane from India not quite 1870. He was trained at the Department of Science and Art, South Kensington, and had taught at the Bombay School of Design back coming to the colony of Queensland. In Queensland he became a leading artist, art critic and art teacher, a advocate of the Board of General Education (the predecessor of the Department of Public Instruction) and, in 1872, the North Brisbane School of Arts.

It is said that his indigenous migration from England was caused by a ‘weak chest’ (likely TB). He was unquestionably a treasured teacher on Brisbane’s School of Art, later a ‘Drawing Master’ at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, next to his acquit yourself as a painter and as an illustrator (most notably for The Queenslander, and for ‘Bobby’ Byrne’s weekly the Queensland Figaro).

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