The Kenneth Clark Prize 2023

7th March 2023
BY Adam Rattray, Head of History of Art

Public Speaking

The Kenneth Clark Prize is competed for by all members of the Sixth Form. Pupils choose a work of art to present on, competing in their Div classes for a place in the semi-finals, from which six are chosen for the final. In front of a packed audience, including leading figures from the art world, pupils took us on a journey from Hockney's Californian beaches and Beverly Hills housewives by Seb, to Douglas' persuasive argument that Oliver Byrne's 1847 books on Euclid must be considered a work of art.


Our adjudicator, Dr. John Goodall of Country Life, had a difficult task in reaching his decision of gold, silver and bronze medals, which he awarded to Mike W., Lloyd D-G. and Darcy G.

Speaking without notes or pausing, Mike's fluent and impressive presentation on Impression III, Concert by Wassily Kandinsky (1911) took home the top prize. In a ten-minute virtuoso display of public speaking, Mike discussed the Russian-born artist and his work. A pioneer of abstraction, Kandinsky is a difficult artist to explain but Mike managed the task with insight and skill, showing us how the discordant notes of Arnold Schoenburg' piano compositions were translated by Kandinsky into colours and forms.

It was a memorable evening in tribute to the College's most famous art historian son, Kenneth Clark (1903-83, B).

The Finalists

Seb F., Beverly Hills Housewife, David Hockney, acrylic on canvas (1966-7)

Cecily M., Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, Artemisia Gentileschi, oil on canvas (1616-1618)

Douglas P., The first six books of the Elements of Euclid, Oliver Byrne (1847)

Lloyd D-G., Stańczyk, Jan Matejko, oil on canvas (1862)

Darcy G., Can't Help Myself, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Guggenheim (2016)

Mike W., Impression III, Concert, Wassily Kandinsky (1911)

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