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John Claridge’s Clowns (The Final Act)

March 2, 2013
by the gentle author

So this is where we bring down the curtain on John Claridge‘s Clowns photographed at the 67th Annual Grimaldi Service at Holy Trinity Dalston last month, courtesy of our friends at Clowns International. Being startled or even alarmed by their curious appearances, their gurning and their dopey japes, we recognise ourselves. This is the corrective that clowns deliver with a cheesey grin, confronting us with the ridiculous in life.

Chuckles the Clown (The Clown with 1000 Faces) – Clowning for sixty-three years. “I am the last one that was taught by Coco the Clown!”

Lady Bird Performer for many years and mother of Pippa the Clown.

Jake – Clowning for three years, son of Mr Mudge and grandson of Mr Jingles.

Stephen – On a visit from Adelaide.

Gadget – Clowning for fifteen years and husband of Pippa the Clown.

Zaz – Clowning since the age of eight, now thirty-three.

Mr Mudge – Performer for fourteen years, son of Mr Jingles.

Susie Oddball – Clowning for thirty-five years. “I left my nose behind in Brighton!”

Bluebottle – Clowning for ten years, Secretary of Clowns International.

Photographs copyright © John Claridge

You might like to take a look at

John Claridge’s Clowns (Act One)

John Claridge’s Clowns (Act Two)

and read my account

At the 65th Annual Grimaldi Service

or read these other Grimaldi stories

Celebrating Joseph Grimaldi

Joseph Grimaldi, Clown

11 Responses leave one →
  1. March 2, 2013

    oh dear. these ALL would make my hubby verrrrrry uncomfortable!

    what is it about clowns?

  2. Ros permalink
    March 2, 2013

    This has been a wonderful series from John Claridge – thanks. Under the make-up, each face and each character so different.

  3. March 4, 2013

    Until now, I’ve never taken to clowns. I think you may have endeared them to me.

  4. Lee permalink
    March 10, 2013

    Fabulous shots !


  5. Marien de Goffau permalink
    March 10, 2013

    Wonderful series. Beautiful photographs.

  6. March 10, 2013

    There is, for me, a thought provoking contrast in these portraits – still, sharp and deeply personal – and the profession – loud, brassy and animated.

    The last clown I saw was called Grandma, who worked for the Big Apple Circus, which visited New Hampshire every summer for a week, until insurance costs became prohibitive. Ah, the tears of a clown …

    Thanks, John, for another wonderful set of portraits.

  7. Will farquhar permalink
    March 10, 2013

    Love your work John. Always have. Wx

  8. March 11, 2013

    Oh John these are amazing you have never lost that genius touch for the portraits you do!!!
    They are wonderful – here is a book in the making. J and Nx

  9. Adrian Taylor permalink
    March 14, 2013

    Thanks, John, for keeping us in the loop.
    Great stuff!


  10. David Drakes permalink
    March 14, 2013

    So, then, farewell to the clowns . . . who next will JC’s inquisitive and revealing lens seek competition for attention with the pugilists in London’s East End?! . . . strikes me the fairer sex deserves a greater share of the limelight!

  11. john edwards permalink
    May 14, 2013

    Bunch of Clowns ….. Is this the UKIP I’ve signed up to that will slip old
    Britain’s cable from being clapped in irons by the clapped out Euro Grocer Heath
    pitched us into without so much as a by your leave?

    As photo’s I find the colours very unsettling as they are drab, drear, and my memory
    of clowns – circus ones’ , is of kinetic and balletic compression of the human condition –
    first recalled as seeing Charlie Cairoli …… George Robey at least 65 years ago so as a child
    and that stays with you, and, when the circus left town, Keaton, Chaplin, Arbuckle, Hay, Moffat, Fernandel, Tati, Laurel, Hardy, Wall, Dainty all took over – Kinetics! And, fine photo’s they are, I’d far rather have seen full figures in animated movement and, in this case, in Sepia as the make up and clothes are very similar in both series and so, along with the rather torpid look of some of this lot,
    close, but [ & I have to say – For me ] no cigar, Monte Cristo or exploding sort. x
    rather wet washing look on some of those having their photo took here,

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