John Clare was born in Helpston, nr Peterborough, in 1793.He came from a poor background and lived much of his life in poverty. Though frail and mentally fragile he was forced into manual work - labouring, lime burning (at Pickworth) pot collecting (in the Blue Bell, Helpston) and gardening (at Burghley House & Woodcroft). However he was able to learn to read and write and had a natural gift for poetry. His poems are inspired by his love of, and closeness to, nature. His first two poems to be published were 'To a Primrose' and 'The Setting Sun' in the Stamford Mercury. His first book, 'Poems descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery'came out in 1820 and for a while he became the toast of London society. A portrait of him hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and he is depicted wearing a silk cravat similar to this one.His global significance is his disgust at the Enclosure of the countryside which removed the wild natural places he loved. You might even call him the first eco-warrior or an early rural psychogeographer! Sadly he ended his days in Northampton Sanitorium and he is buried in Helpston. "I am - yet what I am, none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost..."