Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Real Treat

I was in Cork today and made my usual visit to the Crawford Art Gallery. I got a wonderful surprise. I stumbled upon a collection of Harry Clarke's stained glass windows, designs for the Eve of St. Agnes Window, and illustrations for The Pit and the Pendulum. The surprise was that I had no clue that the gallery held such a collection. I walked into the room and got quite a shock.

While it wasn't a large exhibit it was a mighty fine one even though some of the gallery was in darkness due to faulty lights. I used to work in a gallery and I've experience in hanging and curating. I started to get down about some of the faults, however, the sheer colour and vibrancy of the glass and the sketches shone through. I wasn't going to let faulty lights and some of the stained glass windows not shown in its entirety ruin the experience.

I won't show it all, I'll just show you images of the stained glass, and a few sketches and illustrations that I'd the privilege to see.

The Godhead Enthroned 1911 Irish School Stained Glass 68.6 x 63.5cm

The Meeting of St. Brendan and the Unhappy Judas 1911 Irish School Stained Glass 66.7 x 51.4cm

The Consecration of St. Mel, Bishop of Longford, by St. Patrick 1910 Irish School Stained Glass 67.3 x 60.3cm

 The Pit And The Pendulum 1923Irish School Pen and ink on paper 27 x 20.3cm

The Key Turns (Design for the Eve of St. Agnes Window) 1924 Irish School Pencil and watercolour on paper 27 x 29 cm 

They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—
The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.
"The Eve of St. Agnes"
John Keats

The Fall of The House of Usher 1923 Irish School Pencil and watercolour on paper 40 x 29.8cm

 Long Ago, These Lovers Fled Away (Design for the Eve of St. Agnes Window)
1920 Irish School Pencil, watercolour on paper28 x 15cm
And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
These lovers fled away into the storm.
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
Were long be-nightmar´d. Angela the old
Died palsy-twitch´d, with meagre face deform;
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.
"The Eve of St. Agnes"
John Keats

This stained glass sculpture by Maud Cotter (Straight as Lemons Meet Fish 1987 Irish School Stained Glass) was also in the exhibit and it gave a nice contemporary contrast to Clarke's work. 


Anonymous said...

Whoa! I need to look into this guy. The detail in the human figures on stained glass is phenomenal. And the colors! And the illustrations! I find myself anxious to see them up close in person, especially that Pit and the Pendulum illo.

Taidgh Lynch said...

What's amazing about Clarke was his dedication to his craft, which had an influence in his death at 41. Being able to see the real thing is wonderful, only then can you really appreciate the colours and the attention to detail. Marvellous!

If you ever happen to be in Florida on your travels there's Clarke's Geneva Stained Glass Window in the Wolfsonian Institute in Miami. I hear it's worth a look.

Here's a link to his illustrations http://50watts.com/filter/harry-clarke

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