There’s something about a stained glass window that never fails to move those who stand before it. Whether it’s the way the light falls through the coloured panes, or the emotion captured on the faces of those portrayed, stained glass is one of the most emotive mediums of our time. And of all the art and artists, Harry Clarke stands out as one of the finest.
So it seems fortuitous that a series of stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studio is found within the Church of St Peter and Paul, which is located right next to the Luan Gallery in Athlone. Alongside a window by Sarah Purser, there are five windows from the Harry Clarke studio, each designed in the artist’s inimitable style. The windows weren’t designed by the man himself though, but by Richard Joseph King, who worked for the studio after Harry Clarke passed away in 1931. The five windows – Christ in Judgment, the Purgatory Window, Saint Joseph Window, Jesus Window and Saint Patrick Window are each bold in colour, intricate and emotive, telling elaborate stories between delicately designed panes of glass. Each are a piece of art within themselves and they cast a vibrant array of ever-changing hues upon this sacred space.