Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thanks Uncle

Harry Clarke was one of the great stained-glassed window artists of all times. This DVD discusses his life. There are many books on him. He mainly lived in Ireland but worked in Sydney Australia for a time and constructed stained glass windows at University of Sydney and in churches around Sydney. He also did A. Beardsley style illustrations for books such as those creepy novels by Edgar Allen Poe. I am told by one section of my family that he was my father’s 'grandfather' but other segments disagree.

I traced my Irish-based family tree back to the voyages my ancestors took out here in the 19th century (yes, one wicked line came here with a chain around one leg) but I never could nail the ancestry thing down.

The old Harry Clarke however was a great artist however and I am happy to bask - legitimately or not - in his reflected glory and to bear his name. Some good pics done by the old HC here.

Postscript: As I have now determined there is (apparently) no relationship here at all. My ancestors were Protestant from Ireland and as FXH points out this famous Harry Clarke was trained by the Jesuits. The Harry Clarke that I am related to was a minor artistic figure who lived for a time in Petersham NSW and who did a number of stained glass windows around Sydney's inner west and, I believe, at the University of Sydney.

5 comments:

Francis Xavier Holden said...

So you have some redeeming features. HC the original was taught by Jesuits.

I have seen his work at Bewleys although I didn't know it was his.

See: http://www.rte.ie/tv/theview/archive/20041207.html

He's between Bob Dylan and Jim Jarmusch

hc said...

It may be a myth. I hoped posting this might clear it up. The claim came from a reliable though now deceased family member.

It was rejected by another member and then reasserted again recently.

The Jesuit bit doesn't sound right.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry HC but Harry Clarke, the artist, never came to Oz and has no windows in Sydney. He has windows in St. Mary's Church St Kilda, St Dominic's Church Camberwell, St. Stephen's Cathedral Brisbane and also a church in Perth whose name I can't recall at the moment. He definately was one of the preeminent stained glass artists of the 20th century though.

hc said...

I am not disagreeing with you - you are probably right.

Did you read an autobiography? I believed that 'a' Harry Clarke made windows for Sydney University and at several churches in Sydney's inner west.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about a Sydney Harry Clarke but Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe wrote a number of books, including an award winning biography, about the Irish HC. I am a stained glass conservator and restored the HC windows at St. Dominic's in 1992. You should go and see them, they are stunning!