23 February 2011

Harry Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Connemara is an amazing place, the landscape is spectacular, picture-postcard and not always a postcard of Ireland. One of Ireland's only fjords is there, Killary harbour (the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough) and while we were there the snowcaps on Mweelrea and Ben Lughmore transported the horizon to Norway (without the unfortunate and somewhat barbaric whale barbecues). The other amazing thing about Connemara is what happens when you scratch the surface and realise the many complex layers that lie just beneath the surface.

Tullycross is a tiny village (probably less than a thousand inhabitants in the wider area) in north-western Galway, just outside the Connemara National Park. It has two pubs, a small hotel, a shop and a few holiday homes with thatched cottages built and managed by what is now the furniture college in Letterfrack, part of GMIT. It also has a small church, in which there resides a stained glass triptych by Harry Clarke.

While not quite on par with finding a Old Master in your attic, this blew me away. One of the most iconic Irish artists of his time, Clarke's stained glass and illustrations for works by Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Perrault and, most stunningly, an edition of Goethe's Faust, have captivated me for many years, probably because his style, like that of Aubrey Beardsley, has clearly influenced generations of comic-book artists. Indeed, when I first encountered Clarke as a teenager I immediately though (quite sadly) "wow, this guy is a fan of Sláine or Sandman". Oops.

The Tullycross piece depicts Christ with Saints Bernard and Barbara, and dates from 1927.

St Barbara

Christ with Sacred Heart

St Bernard (not the dog)

Altogether not what one expects to find in a tiny Connemara village.

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1 Comments:

At 4:47 pm, Blogger sara said...

Hey UD, haven't read your blog in a wee while and just saw the Harry Clarke post now. His stained glass works are the most beautiful I have ever seen... and having a love of stained glass, I've seen a lot. Have you been to St.Mary's in Dingle? There's 12 pieces there, in one little chapel.

 

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