Clarke, Ashley

BORN 26 Mar 1903, Stourbridge, West Midlands - DIED 20 Jan 1994
BIRTH NAME Clarke, Henry Ashley
GRAVE LOCATION Venezia, Veneto: Cimetero di San Michele, Isola San Michele (Rec. XV Rep. Evangelici (ashes))

Henry Clarke was the son Henry Hugh Rose Clark and Rachel Hill Duncan. He was edcuated at Repton School and at Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1925 he entered the Diplomatic Service. He was stationed at Budapest (1925-1927), Warsaw (1927-1928), Constantinople (1928-1931), Geneva, Tokyo (1934-1936), Lisbon (1944-1946) and Paris (1946-1949). In 1937 he had married Victoria Bell (known as Virginia Surtees), who collected the work of the then almost forgotten painter Gabriel Dante Rossetti and made herself a name as an author.

From 1949 to 1953 he was assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office. In 1953 he was appointed Ambassador to Italy and he held this post until he retired from the service in 1962. In 1960 he had divorced Victoria after she had started an affair in 1956 with David Craig whom she had met in Italy. In 1962 Clarke married Frances Molyneux. He had no children from either marriage.

Clarke devoted much of his time to cultural and artistic activities and chaired the British-Italian Society as well as the Royal Academy of Dancing. After the flooding of Venice in 1966 he was among the founders of the Italian Art and Archives Rescue Fund. In 1971 it renamed to the Venice in Peril Fund and he was its president from 1983 until his death in 1994. His ashes were brought to Venice were they were buried at the Cimitero di San Michele.


The grave of Ashley Clarke at the Cimitero di San Michele, Venice.
Picture by Androom (13 Feb 2016)


Ashley Clarke - Wikipedia

Clarkson, William Berry

Published: 20 Sep 2020
Last update: 19 Apr 2022