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Harry Clarke Stained Glass Windows

Two undocumented, exquisite Clarke Studio Stained Glass Windows were discovered in Gilford recently.  An expert, Nicola Gordon Bowe found evidence of authenticity. On inspection the windows were described by Ken Ryan, director of the Abbey Stained Glass Company, Dublin as ‘part of our National Heritage’.    

 

The Church of St. John the Evangelist, on Castle Hill, Gilford, possesses two memorial windows the work of the distinguished Irish artist Harry Clarke (1889-1931).  When William B Gourley, the donor, was nine years old the family had emigrated from ‘The Scrogg’ Gilford to New Jersey, USA. The find was unearthed during research for the sesquicentennial celebration publication of The Church and Community of St. John the Evangelist.

  

Even though he did not live to old age, Clarke was to leave an important artistic legacy behind him. An appreciation by journalist and theatre manager,  Lennox Robinson in the Irish Times on 7th January 1931 read "In the death of Harry Clarke Ireland has lost her greatest designer in stained glass ...".

Photographed by Brendan Byrne.

 

Stained glass window entitled  

In Loving memory of Henry and
Catherine Gourley

Henry 1819.1890
Catherine 1827.1878

Click here to view larger
photograph of window


Stained glass window entitled

In Loving Memory of Katharine Gourley
& Jane Gourley Boyle

1853.1928
1858.1914

Click here to view larger
photograph of window
 

 

An appraisal and research, using UCD records, by Nicola Gordon Bowe, an authority and lecturer on Stained Glass window confirmed that both windows were the work of the eminent studio.  Both were designed by the world renowned Harry Clarke and the St. Catherine window was certainly made by the hand of this foremost stained glass artist of his time.

 

St. Catherine of Sienna – memorial window dedicated to Henry and Catherine Gourley, single light:  1922.  

Dated 25th August, 1923 the Irish News carried the following report:

 

"A magnificent stained glass window has been placed in position at the Epistle side of the high altar in the Catholic church at Gilford, Co. Down.  The window, which was designed by Messrs. J. Clarke and Sons, Dublin is the very generous gift of William B Gourley, an eminent counsellor at law, who resided for many years in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. "

Bowe found that in 1922 Harry had an extended period of illness; however, on the 7th June he was involved in a window depicting St. Catherine of Siena.  This information matched an order placed for the memorial window to W.B’s parents and traced by local research.  The generous amount of blue in both designs bore the trademark of Harry Clarke's designs.  

 

Further publicised work by Bowe mentioned a Stained Glass Window depicting Our Lady of Lourdes  and St. Bernadette of later date.  This window was dedicated to Willilam Gourley's two sisters

Katherine Gourley and Jane Gourley Boyle, c.1929 .

 

 


To learn more about this artist and these stained glass windows, read "The Church and Community of St. John the Evangelist Gilford". Available in local NI libraries and from the Gilford Resource Centre.

OR

view additional information about Harry Clarke here on our Gilford Story Finders site.

 

 


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