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March.2014

WEISFJORD NEWS

GOREY’S STAINEDGLASS MASTERPIECES BY LUCY COSTIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL CULLEN Ireland’s world-class artist and book illustrator, Harry Clarke (1889 to 1931), created stained-glass windows and panels that are renowned for their deep jewel-like colours and the magnificence of the characters created through the medium of glass. County Wexford is fortunate indeed to have examples of Clarke’s work in the Church of the Assumption in Bride Street, Wexford Town and in Christ Church in Gorey. Between 1921 and 1923 Harry designed three windows for the church of Ireland in Gorey. The windows are the one-light window depicting Saint Stephen (1922), the two-light Saint Luke and Saint Martin of Tours with the Beggar (1923), and a rose window (1923). Saint Stephen (1922): Harry received a commission for the Saint Stephen from Mrs. LeaWilson in April (Bowe: 1994, p. 129). The window was erected in memory of her husband who had been a member of the

Royal Irish Constabulary but was shot by Republicans outside his home. The top panels of the window depict an angel in robes of magenta, ruby and gold. Saint Stephen, the first martyred saint, is portrayed in blue, purple and magenta robes. The stones that were used to kill him are woven into the pattern of his robes. In the lower panel a childlike angel is depicted in crimson robes. The angel holds a banner containing Saint Stephen’s final works: LORD, LAY NOT THIS SIN TO THEIR CHARGE. The window is signed Harry Clarke, Dublin 1922 above the bottom right border. Saint Luke and Saint Martin of Tours with the Beggar (1923) (2 lights): In December 1922, the Reverend Gahan of Christ Church Gorey commissioned a two-light window of St. Luke and St. Martin of Tours with the Beggar. The two-light window was a memorial to a local surgeon, Francis Nolan (Bowe:

1994, p. 147). The top panels of the first light depict a regal figure wearing a golden crown. The main panels depict Saint Martin of Tours holding an ornate silver sword. A ragged beggar with a sad expression kneels before him, dressed in blue and grey scraps of cloth. As an adolescent, Saint Martin of Tours was enlisted in the Roman army. He is depicted giving his cloak to clothe the beggar. The lower panel depicts the church that Saint Martin founded. The top of the second light depicts a Christ-like figure in blue cloak and robes, holding a book and a feathered pen, surrounded by colourful foliage. The main panels depict the bearded Saint Luke, physician and author of the third gospel. The lower panel depicts a Christ-like figure in blue robes decorated with white motifs and a golden sash, holding a staff and a lily, surrounded by rich coloured blossoms. Rose window (1923): In

December 1922, the Reverend Gahan of Christ Church Gorey commissioned a twelve-light rose window representing the Apostles. It was designed by Harry Clarke and was made by the Studios (Bowe: (1994, p. 147). The window contains twelve decorative abstract panels, denoting the twelve apostles. The central panel is a decorative hexagon in green and turquoise. The predominating colours of the panels are deep crimson, blue, lilac, green and gold.

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For Further information: Website: www.harryclarke.net Book: Strangest Genius: the Stained Glass of Harry Clarke by Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen (The History Press, 2010) – shortlisted for Best IrishPublished Book, by the Irish Book Awards, 2010. Film documentary: A Revel in Blue.

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