The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Biography

James Clarke Hook, 1819-1907

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1819.11.21
Place of Birth: Nothampton Square, Clerkenwell
Date of Death: 1907.04.14
Place of Death: Churt, Surrey


James Clark Hook was an English painter who married the daughter of James Burton.


In 1846 Hook won a R.A. travelling scholarship to study in Italy. His works from this date show a Venetian influence in terms of both colouring and subject matter, e.g. The Rescue of the Brides of Venice (1851; Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Venice). However, in the 1850s he turned increasingly to coastal genre scenes. His 'Luff Boy!' (Private Collection, North Carolina) was praised by Ruskin at the R.A. in 1859.

Hook's coastal scenes have been compared to Whistler's seascapes of the early 1860s. Whistler certainly admired Hook's works. He saw his later subjectless seascapes, e.g. Arrangement in blue and silver - The Great Sea (M.1043), as challenges to the genre-based marinescapes of Hook and also Henry Moore. In a letter of 1881 Whistler mentioned that there was to be an exhibition of the seapieces of Hook and John Brett at the Fine Art Society and that he felt his own work would complement the exhibition well. Hook was elected A.R.A. in 1850 and R.A. in 1860.


Hook, A. J., Life of James Clarke Hook, R.A., 3 vols, London, 1929-32; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Walkley, Giles, Artists' houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1994; Spencer, R., 'Whistler and James Clarke Hook', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, n.s. 6, vol. 104, 1984, pp. 45-48; Rosamund Allwood, 'James Clark Hook', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 28 March 2002).