Gretna Green

John Clark

Coloured aquatint

published 1825
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    The village of Gretna, in Scotland, has been disturbed by the arrival of a horse-drawn carriage, which has raced into the village leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. Local people rush from their houses to see the cause of the commotion. The scene may represent another hurried wedding about to commence in the village of Gretna, long renowned as the location where runaway marriages are performed.

    This is one of 35 Plates, drawn ‘on the spot’ and engraved by the artist, John Clark, as part of his series ‘Views in Scotland’ (1824-25). Generally, two Plates from the series were published each month, although an additional 36th Plate, showing the ‘Town of Tain’, was added to the series in 1828. In July 1824 an advertisement in the ‘Aberdeen Journal’ for the views of Peterhead and Falkirk announced that ‘those who order a complete set will be entitled to the Historical and Descriptive Account of the whole Series and of Scotland generally, now preparing for this Work, and to be delivered with the last Engraving.’

  • About the artist
    John Clark, watercolourist and aquatint engraver, specialised in topographical, sporting and marine views. He remains something of a mystery today as virtually nothing is known of his life. This may be partly the result of his not uncommon name. Clark toured Scotland during the summer of 1823, making sketches for his series of aquatint prints ‘Views in Scotland’ (published in parts in 1824-25, under the patronage of George IV). Other works apparently in the same hand and presumed to be by John Clark are alternately signed ‘J. Clark’ and ‘I. Clark’. To further complicate matters, Clark’s work has frequently been confused with that of John Heaviside Clark (c.1771-1863), an engraver and painter of landscapes and seascapes, born in Scotland.
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  • Details
    John Clark
    Gretna Green
    published 1825
    Coloured aquatint
    Purchased from Sotheby's, 6 November 1957
    GAC number