Joseph Clark was an English oil painter, well known in the Victorian era for his domestic scenes, especially of children. Born in 1834 in Cerne Abbas, Dorset, from the age of eleven Clark was educated as a boarder by William Barnes at his school in Dorchester, and according to a study of the school "exploited Barnes's training perhaps more successfully than any other pupil".His parents brought Clark up as a member of the Swedenborgian New Church, and he remained a member all his life. By 1851, Clark's father had died, and he was living at 13, Long Street, Cerne Abbas, with his widowed mother, who was a retired draper, and two older unmarried sisters, Mary and Emma. He went on to train at J. M. Leigh's art school and became a successful artist at an early age, exhibiting at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1904. Victorian Painters sums him up as a "painter of domestic genre of a tender and affecting nature, usually of children and a few biblical subjects". He was elected a Member of the Institute of Oil Painters, which had a membership limited to one hundred.
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