Harry Clarke’s stained glass


Sturminster Newton, South aisle window (detail).

More from one of Ireland’s great artists. Harry Clarke’s book illustration is oft-reproduced but his stained glass work remains little seen unless you visit the churches where the windows are installed or find a copy of Nicola Gordon Bowe’s out-of-print monograph. Happily there’s a Flickr group who’ve done a great job photographing many of these windows, most of which will be impossible to adequately capture without erecting scaffolding. Someone really ought to publish a book of this work.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Poe at 200
IKO stained glass
Harry Clarke’s The Year’s at the Spring
The art of Harry Clarke, 1889–1931

12 thoughts on “Harry Clarke’s stained glass”

  1. Oh my stars- Harry Clarke did stained glass! I had no idea these existed- thank you for sharing this! I adore Mr. Clarke’s illustrations, and stained glasswork makes me swoon- especially Mucha’s stained glass in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, and the windows at St. Barbara’s cathedral in Kutná Hora, outside Prague near Sedlec Ossuary. Have you been there? So lovely.

  2. Thank you so much for this link – I love Clarke’s glass, but getting to see, let alone photograph it, is difficult, especially since most of it is in Ireland.

    I really think he was one of the finest stained glass artists ever, and even such good photographs don’t convey the whole effect. He used thick flashed glass (a coloured layer on clear), eating away at the coloured layer with acid to give amazingly subtle gradations of colour. There is a single lovely panel in the V&A’s stained glass gallery, but my favourite is his Eve of St Agnes screen in the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin, where he seems to have used two colours of flashed glass in a sort of two-strip technicolour effect.

  3. Hi Angeliska. Clarke’s father was a church decorator so he started out producing stained glass at a very earlier age. He and his brother gained a considerable reputation for their windows and you even get a stained glass feel with some of his drawings like this one from Faust.

    I’ve only seen pictures of the Mucha windows, unfortunately. One of many reasons to visit Prague, something I still haven’t managed.

    Thanks for the reminder about the St Agnes screen, AlyxL. I taped something from TV about that years ago, the only mention of Clarke’s work I’ve ever seen on television. There’s something magical about stained glass which no reproduction can capture.

  4. There’s actually a DVD covering his work, including much of his stained glass work, or at least so it says, that I’ve seen floating around on Ebay. I’ve no opinion on it as I’ve not seen it, but I seem to remember the cover having some critical praise upon it. I can’t remember what it was called and there doesn’t seem to be a listing for it now. If this changes anytime soon then I’ll mention the title. Hell, one of you may very well know the title though.

  5. How wonderful! I had not know he had designed for stained glass too! Another great reason to go to Ireland…
    (I had been quite happy to see Mucha’s stained glass in Prague, so this must be extra special)

  6. I spent the morning at the Hugh Lane gallery and am so amazed and delighted with the eve of St Agnes screen that I saw there. I could have sat there all day looking at it and becoming lost in it’s beauty. The colours, shades and and sheer beauty have made me glad to be alive. Such a miracle of art.
    I wish that everyone could visit and see it.

  7. Argh!

    I love this site, but it’s costing me a fortune! Every time I look at a post I find another thing I didn’t know existed, which I realise I must buy.

    So that’s nearly £30.00 for a the DVD, and now I have to find the stained glass window book…

    As it happens there’s a new (?) book which features all his stained glass work: ‘Strangest Genius’ by Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen

    There’s also a new edition of his Poe ilustrations without Poe’s text (haven’t we all got at least 3 editionds already?) on the way; ‘Nightmares in Decay’

    by Harry Clarke (Author, Illustrator)

  8. My new book on Harry Clarke stained glass windows was launched in Dublin today, it will have images and text of ALL Harrys windows. This book is called ‘Strangest Genius’


    Strangest Genius

    An award-winning film produced by Camel Productions, written and directed by John J Doherty http://camelproductions.net/

    “Documentarian John J Doherty examines the life of Clarke and the controversial nature of his work, culminating in his clash with the conservative Irish Free State over his ‘offensive’ masterpiece, the Geneva Window’. Visually spectacular and poetically told, Darkness in Light is a fitting showcase of Clarke’s unique and haunting vision.” Boston Irish Film Festival
    Trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATWj10GXY7Y

  10. Again I am transported back to the day I first saw Harry Clarke’s work , what a wonderful day it was and I have to make another visit to the gallery again soon. I

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