Enid Clarke RMS

Enid Clarke


Enid Clarke is a Norfolk born artist who, after exhibiting widely throughout East Anglia with her flower paintings, began to develop a fascination for still life miniatures.  In 1983, she was fortunate in meeting a nationally known miniaturist from whom she received tuition in the specialised art of miniature painting.

As well as exhibiting in major London galleries, Enid has sold to many well-known members of the public and her work is in private collections in the UK, USA, Canada, Spain and France.

Enid’s work was accepted and hung in the Royal Miniature Society’s Annual Exhibitions and in 1987 she was elected an Associate of that Society and promoted to full membership in 1997.  Her paintings have been accepted and hung in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibitions and she has achieved much recognition and awards including:-
1989: The Rose Bowl Award for Best Miniature from the Society of Miniaturists in Yorkshire.
1990: Gold Bowl Honourable Mention from the Royal Miniature Society.
1997: Certificate of Excellence for an “Outstanding Set of Miniatures” from the Llewellyn Alexander’s Exhibition of over 800 miniatures.
1999: Runner-up for “Best Set of Six Miniatures” in the Royal Miniature Society Annual Exhibition. 2000: Exhibited with the RMS at the World Exhibition of Miniatures, Tasmania, Australia.  
2004: World Exhibition of Miniatures held in the Smithsonian Complex, Washington DC, USA, with the RMS.
                                             

Memories by Enid Clarke RMS

It was in the 1960’s that I was able to fulfil a long held dream, which was to learn how to paint. I was fortunate in being able to join a local art group, the Wayland Guild of Artists which at that time was run by Miss Freda Noble from her home in Saham Toney, before moving to Wayland High School.

Enid is in the middle of photograph standing behind the lady seated
Freda Noble was a very patient teacher as I had to be taught everything from scratch, even such basic things as paints and brushes I would need.  We would be painting mainly still life at this stage so it was important to know how to make a pleasing composition.  Sometimes we would go out into the countryside and select a nice view to paint and occasionally we would be joined by well-known local artists such as Jason Partner and Ben Ripper. 

                                         Enid is in the middle of photograph
standing behind the lady seated              Enid is seated in the middle 

Enid clarke

We had an Annual Exhibition in the Queen’s Hall in Watton and it was always exciting to see your work hung and even more exciting if there was a red dot attached.

I found that as I progressed and my work began to be admired I started to show in other venues a little further afield.  I was painting mainly flowers and still life which proved to be very popular and I exhibited in the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, in Great Yarmouth, Cromer and the Annual Exhibition at the Royal Norfolk Show.

I was delighted when Freda Noble asked me to assist her in painting the scenery for the local drama group, the Wayland Players in their very successful productions.  I particularly remember the play “Tom Jones” which required several scene changes.

It was around this time that I met an artist friend who suggested that I join her at a new art group which had just started in Cringleford, near Norwich. It was to be run by a nationally known miniaturist who had recently moved to the area.  I told her it interested me as I was at the stage where I wanted to try something new and the idea of miniature painting appealed to me.

So it was that I met Sheila Sewell RMS and I can truthfully say it opened up a new stage in my painting career.  It was a complete change for me, the materials used were different.  The surface painted on had to be very smooth so a substitute for ivory called ivorine was used and having been used to larger brushes I now had to convert to small sable haired brushes which could be fashioned to fine needlepoint tips.  Sheila was an excellent teacher and guided me through the different techniques required.
Sheila Sewell RMS (left)
Enid (left) with a fellow pupil 
I still wanted to paint still life as before because I loved the challenge of taking quite humble objects and trying to make them into something beautiful.  There is no limit to what can be used and when arranged in a pleasing composition can make a very appealing picture.

As I progressed it reached the point where Sheila suggested I should submit something to the Royal Miniature Society’s Exhibition in London.  To my surprise my work was accepted and I now had the pleasure of knowing I had a painting on show in London.  

I received invitations from other galleries, including the Medici Gallery, to show my work.  The next step was to try sending to the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and it was no surprise when my first attempt was rejected.  However, I did not give up and was rewarded when for the next twenty years I had work accepted regularly.  I always attended Varnishing Day which was for exhibiting artists only.  We all assembled at the gallery where we joined a procession, usually headed by a band, to St. James’ Church in Piccadilly for the Artists’ Service.  We returned to the Academy where we were all looking to see where our pictures were hung and chatting with the artists before enjoying a splendid lunch.

Below are the early paintings exhibited at The Royal Miniature Society (1989)
Westminster Gallery, London

It was gratifying to receive letters from all over the country and beyond, from people interested in my work, some coming out to the house.  I think for many I was not quite what they expected.  This was graphically described in Bishop Peter’s book where he spoke of coming to see me when on his ‘pilgrimage’. 

Text below taken from Bishop Peter's Pilgrimage: His Diary and Sketchbook:-
I was fortunate to have paintings shown in several different countries including the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, USA, Tasmania and France.  I was promoted to full membership of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in 1997.

My local work still continued.  I was invited to paint the Charter which was being prepared for the Watton and Weeze Twinning celebrations.  It was a great honour and I was thrilled to paint the Coats of Arms of both towns combined with intertwining flowers.
After seeing my work on the Twinning Charter, a gentleman from Germany asked if I would consider restoring an old miniature he owned which required some restoration. I reluctantly agreed to take it on. Below is a letter I received from him after completing the work.
A small sample of the many letters Enid has received over the last 30 years (Names and addresses removed)