A man from Dublin named William Nagle taught Harry the art of producing stained glass. In 1905, he began night classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art under AE Child. A scholarship in stained glass was awarded to Clarke by the School in 1910 enabling him to attend full-time daily classes, with one of his teachers being Sir William Orpen. Among Clarke’s contemporaries at the school were Sean Keating, Margaret Crilley, whom he married, Albert Power, James Sleator, Kathleen Fox and Leo Whelan.
Clarke later went to London and worked on his black and white illustrations. He was commissioned to illustrate Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales and he had his initial showing at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1914. Clarke received his first big commission in stained glass in 1915 when Sir John O’Connell gave him the first order for the Honan Hostel Chapel windows in Cork. The 11 windows took two years to complete.
In 1924, he was elected an associate of the RHA and a member in 1925. His health steadily deteriorated from 1926 onwards. He died on 6th January 1931 and is buried in Coire.
Harry Clarke was included in “A celebration of Irish Art and Modernism” exhibition (2011). Please click here to view the catalogue.