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Kenneth Clark, Lord Clark of Saltwood

The Gallery’s youngest ever Director, Kenneth Clark went on to be a celebrated broadcaster and continues to be revered as an art historian today.

Kenneth Mackenzie Clark was born on 13 July 1903, the son of a wealthy Scottish businessman. His artistic inclinations led him initially to work for Bernard Berenson at Villa I Tatti near Florence.

He subsequently became Keeper of Fine Art at the Ashmolean Museum, before accepting the directorship of the National Gallery in January 1934 at the age of 30. He remained Director until the end of 1945.

Clark was celebrated for his innovative stewardship of the Gallery during wartime, his prolific publications, and his charismatic broadcasting style in later life. All of this contributed to his position as a scholar of international renown. Knighted in 1938, he was created Lord Clark of Saltwood in 1969.

Clark died on 21 May 1983. He remains one of the most celebrated art historians of the 20th century.

Image above: Kenneth Clark filming 'Civilisation' © BBC