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John CLERK 1728 - 1812

Biography

The son of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, John Clerk Junior married Susannah Adam, the younger sister of the famous Scottish architect, Robert Adam. Between 1747 and 1754 he took part in sketching expeditions with Paul Sandby and Robert Adam, and during the 1760s he sketched the landscape around Edinburgh with Alexander Runciman and Jacob More. He developed from being a purely topographical artist towards a painter interested in the changing light effects of the Scottish landscape.

He was deeply interested in Scottish architecture and travelled the country drawing castles and abbeys. He also produced geological drawings for his friend Dr James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth. Also produced a very considerable number of etchings, for which he is best known today. Although an amateur, John Clerk is interesting both as a draughtsman and as an early enthusiast of the Scottish landscape and its architecture.