Harry Clarke – A ‘Strange Genius’

File:Page 74 illustration from Fairy tales of Charles Perrault (Clarke, 1922).jpg

Puss in Boots

Looking at children’s book illustration, I happened across Harry Clarke’s illustrations for Perrault’s fairy stories. I was surprised and pleased to find that this Dubliner was also a leading maker of stained glass  in Ireland for both ecclesiastical and secular buildings and his work was made for windows in Ireland, Britain, America and Australia.

File:Page 24 illustration from Fairy tales of Charles Perrault (Clarke, 1922).png

Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf

He is also known for the Geneva Window, originally commissioned by the new Irish Free State for the headquarters of the International Labour Court in Geneva. The window depicted scenes from the works of fifteen ofIreland’s finest writers:  George Bernard Shaw, James Stephens, Sean O’Casey, Liam O’Flaherty, AE (George Russell), Seumas O’Kelly, James Joyce, George Fitzmaurice, Padraic Colum, Lennox Robinson, William Butler Yeats, Seamus O’Sullivan, John Millington Synge, Lady Gregory, and P.H. Pearse. Even though he was mortally ill with TB, Clarke followed the progress of the window closely.  It was a great sorrow to him when the window was rejected because of the depiction of a ‘scantily-clad’ lady in one of the panels…it  is now in place at the Wolfsonian, University of Florida in Miami. If you click here, you can see an on-screen image of the window and zoom around it.   

There is a film about Harry called Darkness in Light – please click on  the link to see the trailer.  

In the next post, I will post some of Harry’s stained-glass work.

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2 Responses to Harry Clarke – A ‘Strange Genius’

  1. Pingback: Stained Glass | Meadowsweet

  2. Pingback: Harry Clarke | Neil's Web Space

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