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The Unhappy Judas by Harry Clarke

Prior to the Irish Art sale at Christies in London on the 8th May 2008 a highly important work by Ireland’s leading stained glass artist of the 20th century, Harry Clarke, was acquired by the National Museum of Ireland. It is his 1913 window (in two panels) of ‘The Unhappy Judas’.

Following the addition (on long-term loan) of another highly commendable piece by Clarke in 2006 of a work from 1918 entitled ‘A Meeting’, the acquisition of this 1913 work is an excellent balance between the religious and secular aspects of his genre. This particular work from 1913 won Clarke his third consecutive gold medal at the Board of Education National Competition in London, and as described by his biographer and art historian

Dr. Gordon Bowe was a crucial forerunner to his stained glass commissions for the Honan Chapel located on the grounds of University College Cork between 1915 and 1917. The judges of the 1913 competition – Walter Crane, Selwyn Image and Byam Shaw – remarked that ‘The Unhappy Judas’ is ‘a remarkable original design, both as to the subject and treatment, admirably drawn and well carried out in glass. The colours are rich, sombre and of great beauty, while the very ingenious and beautiful arrangement of the leading makes a delightful pattern in itself.

Dr. Audrey Whitty is curator of Ceramics, Glass and Asian collections at the National Museum of Ireland said: With the addition of Harry Clarke’s ‘The Unhappy Judas’ (1913) to the collection of the National Museum of Ireland, the country now has one of Clarke’s finest works from his formative artistic years. In it are seen many of the features which he would use throughout his career in the execution of exquisite stained glass. By the end of the 1910s Clarke was the most accomplished artist of stained glass in Europe.

For further press information please contact:

Maureen Gaule - Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 - 648 6429 Mob: 087 2075133

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