The Clarke Stained Glass Studios Collection contains stained glass designs, colour schemes, opus sectile designs, architects' blueprints and plans, photographs, documentation about sales and orders, correspondence, financial records, staffing records, and research documentation related to stained glass work executed by the Clarke Studios, Dublin from 1893 to 1972. The bulk of the material covers the period after Harry Clarke's death in 1931; for many years afterwards the Clarke Studios produced designs that replicated Harry Clarke’s style, quite likely because clients themselves requested it. Figures had elongated faces and fingers and pointed feet, and compositions were highly influenced by the Symbolist art movement. In the 1960s and 1970s the Studios incorporated more modern elements into their designs. The materials in the collection often show the process by which an artwork evolved from the ideas of the client, to pencil sketches, and the final colour design.
After Harry's death, his wife, Margaret Clarke, ran the firm in tandem with a series of highly talented studio managers until her own death in 1961. Subsequently Harry’s sisters Dolly and Lally Clarke managed the administrative side of the business.
The Studios worked extensively outside Ireland, which is reflected in the material that documents commissions in the U.K., U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and several African countries. The firm closed down in 1973.
Some materials were donated to Trinity College Library by the Clarke family in 1973, and others were acquired by the Library of Trinity College Dublin from David Clarke in October 2002.
The Clarke Stained Glass Studios Collection comprises:
Designs and Plans: stained glass designs, colour schemes, opus sectile designs, plans, and related documentation for stained glass work executed by the Clarke Studios from 1893 to 1972.
Orders and Sales: books of estimates, order books, and sales information about commissions for stained glass windows.
Correspondence: correspondence sent and received by the Clarke Studios from 1893 to 1972; including letter books, clients’ letters, tax and bank correspondence, shipping specifications, and letters from Harry and Margaret Clarke found in the papers of Thomas Bodkin and Thomas MacGreevy. Some photographs and sketches are also enclosed in clients’ correspondence.
Photographs: photographs of designs, stained glass windows, and Clarke Studios staff.
Miscellaneous printed material: printed items either produced or used by the firm, including advertising samples, religious booklets, cuttings from art books, and newspaper clippings.
See also the Library's online exhibition featuring images from the collection.