Roland H. Clark was an artist,
author, and sportsman who was particularly well known for
his etchings of game birds such as ducks, geese, woodcock,
and quail. He was the son of Henry Walker and Fanny Elizabeth
(Hunt) Clark of New Rochelle, New York where he was born on
April 2, 1874. His father was a lawyer.
Roland Clark went to private
schools in New York City and studied art under tutors and
at the Art Students League where J. Carroll Beckwith was one
of his instructors. As a youth he enjoyed sailing, fishing,
and horseback riding, but his greatest pleasure was hunting
waterfowl in the marshes around Long Island Sound. After he
finished school he combined his work with his favorite recreation
and made sketching-hunting trips to Scotland, Canada, and
many of the hunting areas along our East Coast. It has been
said that he was often torn between shooting or sketching
a bird, and as a result in a moment of indecision sometimes
would lose both the bird and the drawing.
Mr. Clark married Ann, daughter
of Richard Corbin Byrd, a planter of Gloucester, Virginia
on September 5, 1900. There were three children: Elizabeth
Hunt, William Byrd, and Ann Gordon Clark. The family lived
in Gloucester on Mobjack Bay, an offshoot of Chesapeake Bay,
for 22 years. Mr. Clark went into the oyster trading business
for a while, but the area had so much to offer a wildfowl
artist that he could not permit himself to be diverted for
Using sketches made from life,
he did some 500 etchings, many of which were exhibited in
one-man shows in New York and other cities. Some were used
to illustrate the books he wrote, and others were purchased
for The Library of Congress in Washington, D. C.
Mr. Clark wrote his first book
in 1931. Entitled Stray Shots, it told of his hunting experiences
and was illustrated by 13 of his original drypoint etchings.
The edition was limited to 500 copies. In 1937 he produced
Gunner's Dawn which contained further reminiscences of hunting
trips and was illustrated by an original etching plus reproductions
of five of his oil paintings. The following year Roland Clark's
Etchings appeared with reproductions of 70 etchings. Pot Luck,
another collection of stories written and illustrated by Mr.
Clark, came out in 1945.
Although Mr. Clark's principal
work was making the etchings for which he was internationally
known, he also did many oil paintings of sporting scenes,
including miniatures of birds, and a few watercolors. All
his work was well received: eight series of hand engraved
and colored prints were made; limited editions of color prints
taken from many of his oil paintings were produced; his etchings,
including his duck stamp print, are treasured by those who
Mr. Clark was a charter member
of The American Sporting Artists and a member of Ducks Unlimited,
He died at 83 in Norwalk Hospital,
Norwalk, Connecticut on April 13, 1957.