Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Title: The Song of the Mad Prince
Date: 1917
Medium: Stained glass
34.3 x 17.7 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1987
Object Number: NGI.12074
DescriptionClarke was a leading exponent of the Celtic Revival and of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement at the beginning of the 20th century. Attracted by the artistic language of the Symbolists, he created in that style innumerable beautiful images derived from literature, medieval legends and religious sources. Extremely talented, his ability was equally impressive in different media, but his greatest success was achieved as an illustrator of books and as a designer and maker of stained-glass panels.

This miniature panel was inspired by a moving poem written by Walter de la Mare. In it Clarke explored some new technical solutions, aciding and plating together two double pieces of glass of different colours to achieve his desired combination of hues. Once polished, the stained glass was inserted in a walnut cabinet created by James Hicks of Dublin.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)
ProvenanceCommissioned by Thomas Bodkin in consultation with the Artist; by descent to one of his daughters, Mrs Patrick Jameson (nee Elizabeth Bodkin), Dublin, 1961; purchased, Private Collection, 1987
Exhibition HistoryStudio Exhibition, 33 North Frederick Street, Dublin, 1918

6th Exhibition, Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland, Dublin, 1921

Thomas Bodkin Collection, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, 1962

Harry Clarke, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, 1979-1980

The Fantastic in Art: Images of the Supernatural and Uncanny, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 4 April 2007 - 12 August 2007
Label TextThe subject of this panel is derived from a poem of the same name included in Walter de la Mare’s collection Peacock Pie (1913). In Clarke’s panel, the prince, wearing exquisitely embellished, Elizabethan-style clothing, stands in front of his mother and father. Clarke experimented in the production of this work, etching and plating together two double pieces of glass of different colours to achieve a variety of colours and tones. Housed in a bespoke walnut cabinet by James Hicks, the panel was originally made for Thomas Bodkin, Clarke’s friend and patron and later Director of the National Gallery of Ireland.