Thomas Shields Clarke

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Thomas Shields Clarke, circa 1900 Thomas Shields Clarke Brush&Pencil Aug1900 p.193.jpg
Thomas Shields Clarke, circa 1900

Thomas Shields Clarke (April 25, 1860 November 15, 1920) was an American painter and sculptor. He is best known for his bronze sculpture The Cider Press, in San Francisco.



Named for his grandfather, he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest of the six children of Charles John Clarke, a Pennsylvania Railroad executive, and Louisa Semple.

Pennsylvania Railroad former American Class I railroad

The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad that was established in 1846 and was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was so named because it was established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

He was a cartoonist for a student newspaper at Princeton University, from which he graduated in 1882. He studied for a year at the Art Students League of New York, then worked as an illustrator in New York City. [1] He moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian painting under William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jules Joseph Lefebvre; and sculpture under Henri Chapu. [1] He was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied in the atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme. Clarke left the École after less than 3 years, and became the special pupil of Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret. [1]

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Art Students League of New York art school located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City

The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City, New York. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists and for over 130 years has maintained a tradition of offering reasonably priced classes on a flexible schedule to accommodate students from all walks of life.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Early works

Clarke exhibited his first painting at the Paris Salon of 1885, and had his first success with the wryly humorous A Fool's Fool, exhibited at the Salon of 1887. [1] The Night Market in Morocco, an exotic scene by firelight, earned him a diploma of honor at the 1891 International Art Exhibition of Berlin, and was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1892. [1]

Clarke exhibited paintings at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois—A Fool's Fool, The Night Market in Morocco, Portrait of Madame d' E, A Gondola Girl, and the full-size cartoon for a 3-part lunette stained glass window: Morning, Noon and Night. [lower-alpha 1] He was awarded a medal for his paintings. [3]

The Cider Press

The Cider Press, plaster model in an 1892 photograph Clarke The Cider Press 1892 plaster.jpg
The Cider Press, plaster model in an 1892 photograph

Clarke debuted a plaster sculpture group, The Cider Press, at the Paris Salon of 1892. [2] It depicts a muscular father pressing apples while his young son samples the juice. Clarke designed it to be a public drinking fountain, with water to flow out of the press and into a bucket at its base. [lower-alpha 2] The Cider Press was exhibited at the 1892 Historical American Exposition in Madrid, at which King Alfonso presented Clarke with a medal (the only one awarded to a foreign sculptor). [1] A larger-than-life-size bronze version was cast in Paris by Jaboeuf & Bezout Fondeurs, [5] and exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair. The following year, it was exhibited at the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, in San Francisco. The Exposition's Executive Committee purchased the sculpture and presented it to the city. [5] It was installed as a drinking fountain in Golden Gate Park in 1894. [5] Vandalism caused it to be relocated to the grounds of the De Young Museum.

Historical American Exposition

The 1892 Historical American Exposition held in Madrid was intended to mark the four hundredth year of the discovery of America.

Alfonso XIII of Spain King of Spain

Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Alfonso was monarch from birth as his father, Alfonso XII, had died the previous year. Alfonso's mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as regent until he assumed full powers on his sixteenth birthday in 1902.

California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894

The California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, commonly referred to as the "Midwinter Exposition" or the "Midwinter Fair", was a World's Fair that officially operated from January 27 to July 5 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Later works

Clarke modeled a set of four caryatidesSpring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – for the Madison Avenue façade of the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State, in Manhattan. [6] He modeled a figure in staff of Captain Thomas Macdonough for the Dewey Arch, [7] a temporary structure erected in Madison Square, Manhattan, to celebrate Admiral George Dewey's 1898 victory in the Spanish–American War. Clarke modeled an ornate bell for the gunboat USS Princeton (active 1898–1919). [8] He modeled To Alma Mater (1900), a larger-than-life-size plaster sculpture group for his own alma mater, Princeton University, [9] but it seems never to have been executed in bronze or marble.

A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese. Karyai had a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis in her aspect of Artemis Karyatis: "As Karyatis she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants".

Madison Avenue avenue in Manhattan

Madison Avenue is a north-south avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States, that carries northbound one-way traffic. It runs from Madison Square to meet the southbound Harlem River Drive at 142nd Street. In doing so, it passes through Midtown, the Upper East Side, East Harlem, and Harlem. It is named after and arises from Madison Square, which is itself named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State

The Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State, First Department is a historic court house located at 35 East 25th Street at the corner of Madison Avenue, across from Madison Square Park, in Manhattan, New York City. The building is three stories, with a basement; the central entrance faces 25th Street.


Clarke was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1902. George M. Reevs painted his "diploma" portrait. [10] Clarke was a member of the National Sculpture Society, the National Arts Club, the Architectural League of New York and the Century Association. [10]


On October 3, 1886, Clarke married Adelaide Knox, the daughter of Theodore Hand Knox and Adelaide Susan Jenney, in Geneva, Switzerland. The couple had three children: daughters Alma Adelaide Clarke [11] and Beatrice Clarke Remington, and son Charles John Clarke, named for his grandfather and known as "Jack."

Clarke lived in Europe for 11 years, [9] and returned with his family to the United States in 1894. [10] He hired architect Wilson Eyre to design an Arts & Crafts-style summer house and studio, "Fernbrook," in Lenox, Massachusetts. [12] Completed in 1904, Clarke generally worked there from May to October.

Clarke's brothers, Louis, John and James, were pioneers in automobile production. Louis Semple Clarke patented the porcelain-insulated sparkplug.


The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia owns "A Fool's Fool" (1887), and a collection of Clarke's sketches: PAFA also holds a collection of his correspondence and photographs:(PDF)


  1. "He is now occupied in an interesting scheme for a stained glass window, all in tones of yellow, showing morning, noon and night. The first represents the Guardian Angel of Childhood, with a symbolical sunflower in the hand; the second, the Angel of Noonday, with spreading wings casting their shade over the child; and the third, the Angel of Night, holding the child in her arms, and a poppy. Around, the words symbolical of the twelve months. [2]
  2. "One of his earliest efforts was that serious but somewhat unwieldy and but slightly decorative concept for a fountain, 'The Cider Press," which was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition, and finally found a resting place in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. This work showed a vigorous and well-constructed nude figure turning with much effort the screw of a cider press,a somewhat tantalizing motive for a drinking fountain." [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 W. A. Cooper, "Artists in Their Studios: Thomas S. Clarke," Godey's Magazine, vol. 130, no. 779 (May 1895), pp. 469-74.
  2. 1 2 "The Cider Press," The Illustrated American, vol. 12, no. 132 (August 27, 1892), pp. 66, 81.
  3. Department of Fine Arts, World's Columbian Exposition, Revised Catalogue, Department of Fine Arts, with Index of Exhibitors (Chicago: W.B. Conkey Company, 1893), p. 14.
  4. Lorado Taft, The History of American Sculpture (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1903), p. 436.
  5. 1 2 3 The Apple Cider Press, from SIRIS.
  6. Spring, from SIRIS.
  7. Dewey Arch, from SIRIS.
  8. Ship's Bell, from SIRIS.
  9. 1 2 Obituary: "Thomas Shields Clarke '82," The Princeton Alumni Weekly, December 15, 1920, p. 254.
  10. 1 2 3 David B. Dearinger, ed., Paintings and Sculpture at the National Academy of Design, Volume I: 1826-1925 (New York and Manchester: Hudson Hills Press, 2004), p. 457.
  11. Alma Adelaide Clarke, from Bryn Mawr College.
  12. "A House At Lenox". House Beautiful. 25 (5): 107–109. April 1909.