In my recent trip to Europe, I visited Glasgow, Scotland. I used to live and work in Glasgow few years ago, and it was there that I specialised in art glass design and worked in great glass projects for the Verrier Glass Studio, including the creation of leadlight windows and the restoration of heritage stained glass in Glasgow.
It was to my great joy that a beautiful stained glass window by Irish artist Harry Clarke was on display at the Kelvingrove museum. Harry Clarke (17 March 1889 – 6 January 1931) was a proficient stained glass artist and he created more than 130 windows which are characterised by rich colours (especially deep blues), fine drawings and the integration of the lead cames themselves into the design of the stained glass window (which remind the heavy lines in his black&white book illustrations). An example of Clarke’s stained glass windows is also in the St Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane (known as the “Ascension” or “Mayne” window, because in memory of Isaac and William Mayne). This window was commissioned to Clarke and imported from Ireland in the early part of the twentieth century (about 1923).
The window in Glasgow is titled “The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin” and, as the Brisbane’w window, it also was realised in 1923, as recorded along with Clarke’s signature in the bottom right corner of the rightmost panel (see image). The window is made up of 20 panels and was originally installed in the Convent Chapel in the Teacher Training College in Dowanhill Glasgow, Scotland, but has now been removed and is assembled into an exhibition frame in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum. The window was commissioned by Sister Mary of St Wilfrid of The Sisters of Notre Dame and Principal of the Teacher Training College.
The window contains all the motifs that make Clarke’s work famous around the word: the deep blue colours of the Virgin’s dress, the delicate drawings of the faces of the people pictured in the window (see the details in the images above), and the inclusion of the lead as integral part of the design, for example dictating the flow of the Virgin’s dress and the drip of water in the central panel.