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Harry Clarke (1889-1931)

Henry Patrick Clarke, RHA (1889-1931)

Harry Clarke’s ability to work with equal distinction as a book illustrator and a stained-glass artist has led to his reputation as a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, not only in his native Ireland but internationally.

The son of a leading church decorator and stained-glass artist, Harry Clarke was born in Dublin on 17 March 1889 and educated at the Central Model School, Marlborough Street, and then by the Jesuits at Belvedere College. On the death of his mother in 1903, he spent some time in the office of the architect, Thomas McNamara, before entering his father’s studio. Falling under the influence of the work of Aubrey Beardsley and Edward Burne-Jones, he developed skills in stained-glass design before winning a scholarship to the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin (1908), and three consecutive National Gold Medals from the South Kensington Board of Education (1911-13). A travel scholarship enabled him to study stained glass in the French province of Ile de France in 1914. He returned to Ireland to establish himself as a stained-glass designer, with the window executed for Honan Chapel, Cork (1915-17).

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