Civilisation. A Personal View.

By Kenneth Clark.

Printed: 1999

Publisher: The Folio Society. London

Dimensions 24 × 31 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 24 x 31 x 3

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In a fitted Box. Blue cloth binding with silver and gilt line drawings and title.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

                         A most rare Folio edition

Beautiful edition by Folio Society. Many pictures are produced in full colour that are in B/W in other editions and are reproduced at a larger scale in this edition.

Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages here given the Folio treatment. The book began life as a BBC television programme & was first published as a book in 1969.

Civilisation—in full, Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark—is a 1969 British television documentary series written and presented by the art historian Kenneth Clark.

The thirteen programmes in the series outline the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series was produced by the BBC and aired from February to May 1969 on BBC2. Then, and in later transmissions in Britain, the US and other countries it reached an unprecedented number of viewers for an art series. Clark’s book of the same title, based on the series, was published in 1969. Its production standards were generally praised and set the pattern for subsequent television documentary series. The New Yorker magazine described it as revelatory for the general viewer.

The BBC’s DVD issue in 2005 has remained in the catalogues, and Clark’s accompanying 1969 book has never been out of print.

Kenneth Mackenzie Clark, Baron Clark OM CH KCB FBA (13 July 1903 – 21 May 1983) was a British art historian, museum director, and broadcaster. After running two important art galleries in the 1930s and 1940s, he came to wider public notice on television, presenting a succession of programmes on the arts during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the Civilisation series in 1969.

The son of rich parents, Clark was introduced to the arts at an early age. Among his early influences were the writings of John Ruskin, which instilled in him the belief that everyone should have access to great art. After coming under the influence of the connoisseur and dealer Bernard Berenson, Clark was appointed director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford aged twenty-seven, and three years later he was put in charge of Britain’s National Gallery. His twelve years there saw the gallery transformed to make it accessible and inviting to a wider public. During the Second World War, when the collection was moved from London for safe keeping, Clark made the building available for a series of daily concerts which proved a celebrated morale booster during the Blitz.

After the war, and three years as Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford, Clark surprised many by accepting the chairmanship of the UK’s first commercial television network. Once the service had been successfully launched he agreed to write and present programmes about the arts. These established him as a household name in Britain, and he was asked to create the first colour series about the arts, Civilisation, first broadcast in 1969 in Britain and in many other countries soon afterwards.

Among many honours, Clark was knighted at the unusually young age of thirty-five, and three decades later was made a life peer shortly before the first transmission of Civilisation. Three decades after his death, Clark was celebrated in an exhibition at Tate Britain in London, prompting a reappraisal of his career by a new generation of critics and historians. Opinions varied about his aesthetic judgment, particularly in attributing paintings to old masters, but his skill as a writer and his enthusiasm for popularising the arts were widely recognised. Both the BBC and the Tate described him in retrospect as one of the most influential figures in British art of the twentieth century.

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