By: Louise Fiske
Roland Clark ((1874–1957), studied in private schools in New York City, and went on to pursue his work with his favorite recreation and made sketching and Hunting trips to Scotland, Canada and the east coast. He was often at a crossroad decision on to whether he should shoot or sketch a bird, and as a result of the indecision he might suddenly do both!
He went on to make roughly five hundred etchings, many of which he showed as a one man exhibit in New York City. Some were used to illustrate the books he wrote, and many others were purchased by the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
He was chosen to do the 1938 United States Federal Duck Stamp design. He even designed a necktie with canvasbacks, available in blue, green, or brown cloth, which sold for three dollars through DU or Abercrombie & Fitch!
Abercrombie & Fitch Advertisement
In 1900, he married Ann Byrd, and they were given five acres to build a home on her father’s elegant White Hall Plantation in Gloucester County, Virginia. Fortuitously set up on Mobjack Bay, a western offshoot of the Chesapeake, Clark dabbled in the oyster business as co-owner of a two-misted schooner. Ungifted in commerce, however, he soon turned full-time to his art, when he wasn’t riding to hounds, breeding and showing his Thoroughbred horses, point-to-point steeple chasing, or training English and Gordon setters and cocker spaniels for field trial competitions and his own sport. When the plantation was sold 20 years later, the Clarks moved to Midtown Manhattan, but also kept a home on Little Peconic Bay’s Nassau Point, on Long Island’s now chic North Fork near Cutchogue/Southold, which was a waterfowler’s piece of heaven in those days.
During the golden age of outdoor magazines, Clark’s work mostly supported wildfowling stories, although he also painted and shot upland birds, grouse in Scotland, and quail all over the South.
He produced popular covers, such as the March 1927 Field & Stream cover of black ducks. In addition, he wrote his own, often droll, outdoor stories, such as “Ice Bound on the Great South Bay” (Field & Stream, December 1921). He passed away in 1957.