Henry Clarence Whaite 1892-1912

MAFA President 1892-1912

Henry Clarence Whaite, also fondly called Clarence Whaite, was a skilled Manchester-born artist, popular for his landscape paintings of Wales. Whaite studied at Manchester Grammar School and also attended the Manchester School of Design. His father Henry dealt in picture framing and owned an art gallery.

In 1850 Clarence visited Switzerland and was inspired by its mountain scenery. Once he returned to the UK he sought scenic mountain views near to his home and found inspiration in a pretty village located in the Conwy Valley, North Wales. For the next 20 years, Clarence stayed in Manchester sketching and painting, and became a prominent member of the newly formed Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. In 1870, he settled near Conwy which became his permanent base and married Jane Alice Griffiths. His only daughter Lily Florence Whaite also became a popular artist.

Whaite had the ability to capture the ever-changing weather conditions. His work mirrored his strong religious beliefs, although his painting are all centred around landscapes. From 1851 he exhibited artworks at the Royal Academy and in 1859 noted art critic John Ruskin reviewed his paintings. He commented that while his artwork was exquisite, the excessive touch covering all minute details was not necessary. Clarence’s famous oil paintings where he used spots of pure colour, is said to have originated the idea of Impressionism.

Take a look at Whaite’s dramatic landscape paintings.