Harry Clarke (1889-1931) was a renowned stained-glass artist of the early twentieth century, and several examples of his work still exist today, most notably at the Honan Chapel in Cork, Ireland. It was during his education at Dublin Art School that he developed an interest in book illustration. After winning the gold medal in the stained-glass category at the 1910 Board of Education National Competition, he traveled to London to find work as an illustrator.
His first commission-illustrating a trade and deluxe edition of Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen-came from George Harrap in 1913. For the next six years, he worked at the same time on illustrating the Edgar Allan Poe collection Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Clarke used the techniques he learned from working in stained glass on his macabre illustrations of Poe’s dark stories. The resulting work, Poe’s dark vision brought to stunning life by Clarke’s detailed imagery, created a sensation when the first edition was published in October 1919. Other books that Clarke illustrated include The Years at the Spring, Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault, Goethe's Faust, and Selected Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne. He also created more than 130 stained-glass windows, one of which, “The Baptism of St. Patrick,” was selected for exhibition at the Louvre in Paris.
Unfortunately, the unceasing, grueling pace of his work, perhaps along with the toxic chemicals used in the stained-glass process, cut his life short. In 1931, at the age of forty-one, Harry Clarke died in Switzerland while trying to recover from tuberculosis.