Dark Beauty focuses on the minute detail in Harry Clarke’s stained-glass windows, particularly in the borders and lower panels of his work. Clarke’s brilliance as a graphic artist is clearly visible in his book illustrations, which are imbued with precise attention to intricate designs, and he applied the same lavish focus to every facet of his stained glass.
The title ‘Dark Beauty’ refers to the duality of Clarke’s work that sees delicate angels juxtaposed with macabre, grotesque figures, and represents the partially hidden details that dwell in the background of his windows – motifs, accessories, flora, fauna and diminutive characters – which may be missed in light of the dominance of the central subjects.
The authors spent many years photographing Clarke’s windows in Ireland, England, America and Australia, and the resulting 60,000 photos have been carefully whittled down to 300 glorious images. Dark Beauty will provide lovers of Clarke’s stained glass with the opportunity to view previously obscured or unnoticed details in all their unique beauty and inspire their own travels to view Clarke’s work.
Table of Contents
1. Master of Colour and Light
2. Fashion and Accessories
3. Flora and Fauna
4. Settings and Décor
5. Borders, Tracery and Decorative Panels
6. Diminutive Characters
7. Adding Those Extra Details
Catalogue of Work
Index by Location and Window
About the Authors
Lucy Costigan is from Wexford. Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke, by Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen, was shortlisted for Best Irish-Published Book of the year by the Irish Book Awards in 2010 and for Book of the Decade by Dublin Book Festival in 2016. Lucy’s biography, Glenveagh Mystery : The Life, Work and Disappearance of Arthur Kingsley Porter, was a national bestseller in 2012. Lucy holds Masters’ degrees in Research and Equality Studies.
Michael Cullen is a photographer and cinematographer from Wexford. He photographed the entire stained-glass work of Harry Clarke worldwide from 2008 to 2010 for Strangest Genius. In 2015 Michael’s photography was the basis for The Harry Clarke Colouring Book and he won ‘Best Caravan and Camping Video’ at the 2018 European Awards in Utrecht, Holland.
Praise for Dark Beauty
‘The research in Dark Beauty is scholarly and thorough with an engaging passion and intimacy, examining the smaller sections in Clarke’s windows, minute details which are often overlooked; it’s as much for the Harry Clarke expert as for people like me, who know a fraction about the artist but are drawn to beautiful, dark things, with a touch of magic.’
Ruth McKee, The Irish Times
‘Most of [Clarke’s] details are almost invisible to the reviewer from ground level but Cullen’s photographs illustrate them to perfection throughout Costigan’s descriptive text. … Beautifully illustrated throughout, Dark Beauty is a welcome, accessible primer for the general public who will be as entranced and delighted by Clarke’s stained glass as Lucy Costigan as a young student in the 1980s.’
Amanda Croft, Familia: Ulster Genealogical Review