A close up of an intricately detailed stained glass piece. A saint with a blue halo, crown and red clothes looks towards the viewer. The title is at the bottom in stylised white letters.

Dark Beauty

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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 500 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.

A preview of the book is available to view on the Irish Academic Press website here.


Author: Lucy Costigan, Michael Cullen

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Merrion Press

ISBN: 9781785372339

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