Posts Tagged ‘Harry Clarke’


The poem, Song of the Mad Prince, was part of Walter de la Mare’s collection Peacock Pie (1913). Clarke dresses his prince in an Elizabethan style as he stands before his mother and father. A variety of colors and tones are achieved by plating and etching of two planes of glass. It is a small piece actually with a custom case of walnut produced for a friend and patron of Clarke, Thomas Bodkin, who at one point was Director of the National Gallery of Ireland.


Sources and Additional Reading




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I’ve long known of Harry Clarke and his illustrations and during previous trips to Dublin I learned of his work in stained glass, like at Bewley Cafe, but for this trip I was a bit by the seat of my pants and so I did not know there was some of his glass on exhibit at the National Gallery. And as we chanced upon his work, a docent for the museum led in a group and began to talk about why Clarke was so special in his use of layered glass for jeweled effect and his use of dark colors to direct the eyes of the viewer to the lighter glass to see what he wanted you to see. One window on view was the Mother of Sorrows, depicting the story of Mary holding the lifeless body of her son.


According to an accompanying curatorial note, the window had been designed as a WWI memorial but instead became a memorial to Sister Superior Mary of Saint Winifred who had commissioned it.


In addition to Mary holding Jesus, St. Francis stands to one side and St. Catherine on the other.


And always angels looking on.


The window is currently on view at the National Gallery. Entrance is free (though not all exhibits are free).







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It must be a sign of the times that as I flipped through Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination as illustrated by Harry Clarke, I could not help but think what a great adult coloring book these illustrations would make. Perhaps not all of the illustrations … unless you’re into zombies and the Walking Dead. But these scenes from Poe’s short story Morella

and these from The Colloquy of Monos and Una called to me with their flower and nature imagery.  Harry Clarke (1889-1931) is perhaps more widely known for his stained glass work. Whether working with glass or with paper for his book illustrations, I wonder at the sources of his creative vision. I’m not always sure why I am inspired to do something but it sure is fun to take time to explore the possibilities. And to talk with other artists about their influences.

I can’t talk with Mr. Clarke but I am lucky enough to have access to a number of artists in my local community. Stay tuned for future updates about artists and their inspirations.

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