George Clarke

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George Clarke
George Clarke (1661-1736), studio of Godfrey Kneller.jpg
George Clarke (1661-1736)
(Studio of Godfrey Kneller)
Secretary at War
In office
Monarch William III
Preceded by William Blathwayt
Succeeded by Henry St John

George Clarke (7 May 1661 – 22 October 1736),[1] was an English architect, Tory politician and print collector.

The son of Sir William Clarke, he enrolled at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1676. He was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1680. He became Judge Advocate to the Army and was Secretary at War in Ireland from 1690 to 1692 and in England from 1693 to 1704 under William III of England and Queen Anne. He served as secretary to Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne's consort and the Lord High Admiral and Generalissimo of England.[1]

He was successively Member of Parliament for Winchelsea from 1702 to 1705, coinciding with his office as Joint Secretary of the Admiralty, East Looe from 1705 to 1708, and Launceston from 1711 to 1713. Over the latter period he was Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty from 20 December 1710 until 14 October 1714, when he was dismissed following the accession of George I. He returned to the House of Commons, in a by-election, as MP for Oxford University in 1717, serving until his death, although at the time of his last election in 1734 he had lost his left eye and was losing sight in the other.[1]

He was also an amateur architect.[2] His known work is largely confined to Oxford, (Clayton's DNB entry for Clarke offers more detail of his architectural endeavours) and he is known to have designed buildings and also to have collaborated with Nicholas Hawksmoor, amongst others.

Timothy Clayton discusses Clarke’s print collection, noting “John Vanburgh, Alexander Pope and George Vertue travelled to Oxford to use his library with its unique collection of notes and drawings by [Inigo] Jones” (Clayton 1992, p. 124).

The library of Worcester College, Oxford houses Clarke's collection of books, MSS, prints and drawings. Building work on the library, which was started within a few years of the college's founding in 1714, was completed in 1736. A spat between Clarke and All Souls resulted in the bequest to Worcester.

List of architectural works[edit]

The library in the Peckwater Quad, Christ Church, Oxford (1717–38)

Rebuilt The Queen's College, Oxford, with Hawksmoor (1710–21)

The New Buildings, Magdalen College, Oxford (1733)

The Hall, Chapel and Library, Worcester College, Oxford (1733–1753)

The Rectory, Kingston Bagpuize (c.1723)

Cokethorpe House, alterations (c.1710)

Gallery of architectural work[edit]


  1. ^ a b c [1] History of Parliament online article.
  2. ^ page 216, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, Howard Colvin 2nd edition 1978 John Murray

Clayton, T. (1992) “The Print Collection of George Clarke at Worcester College, Oxford”. Print Quarterly 9(2) 123–141.

George Clarke Print Collection

Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs

Further reading[edit]

Clayton, T. (1997) The English Print 1688–1802. Yale University Press. London.

Clayton, T. (2004) "Clarke, George (1661–1736)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition. DOI:

Parliament of England
Preceded by
John Hayes
Robert Austen
Member of Parliament for Winchelsea
With: James Hayes
Succeeded by
George Dodington
James Hayes
Preceded by
Sir John Pole, Bt
Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Member of Parliament for East Looe
With: Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for East Looe
With: Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Succeeded by
Harry Trelawny
Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Preceded by
Lord Hyde
Francis Scobell
Member of Parliament for Launceston
With: Francis Scobell
Succeeded by
Edward Herle
John Anstis
Preceded by
Sir William Whitelock
William Bromley
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: William Bromley 1717–1732
Viscount Cornbury 1732–1736
Succeeded by
Viscount Cornbury
William Bromley