Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Title: "Her Guardian Sylph Prolonged the Happy Rest"
Date: 1913
Medium: Ink on card
30 x 20 cm
Signed: on verso: Harry Clarke July 1913
Credit Line: Purchased, 1936
Object Number: NGI.2957
DescriptionClarke's set of wistful yet humorous illustrations to Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock was commissioned by his early patron Laurence Ambrose Waldron. The National Gallery of Ireland purchased them from Waldron's niece Cicily O'Kelly in 1936. Clarke mastered the same type of dotted line first used by Aubrey Beardsley in his pen and ink illustrations intended for process line production. Comparisons are often made with Beardsley's rendering of Pope's poem, published in 1896.

'Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:'
['Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head;]
'A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau,
(Than e'en in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay' [Canto 1st]

The diaphanous beauty Belinda is here enticed by her guardian youth, an unearthly sylph, adorned with peacock feather wings. The Beardsleyesque 'fleur du mal' elaborately embroidered on the black curtain enriches the overall intricate decoration.

Exhibition HistoryBristle: Hair and Hegemony, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, 07 July - 25 September 2017
Inscriptionon verso: Harry Clarke Frederick St. Dublin July 1913

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