Andrew Lambirth

Kenneth Clark wasn’t happy simply popularising art, he liked to collect it and shape it too

Tate Britain presents a survey of nearly 300 works that Clark owned or admired

‘Coventry Cathedral’, 1940, by John Piper [Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

Earlier this year, I sat down and watched Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking TV series Civilisation. I vaguely remember when it was first screened in 1969, but was too young to appreciate it properly. This time around it made splendid Sunday afternoon viewing: Clark’s distinctive blend of authority and humour, his ability to convey information and enthusiasm without the slightest trace of condescension, coupled with effective camerawork and good editing, make a rich and stimulating brew of word, image and music.

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