Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Title: 'Now Awful Beauty Puts on all its Arms'; Rough Sketches (on verso)
Date: 1913
Medium: Ink on card
36.8 x 26.8 cm
Signed: upper right: HC [in monogram] 1913
Credit Line: Purchased, 1936
Object Number: NGI.2958
Description'Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair, each moment, rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;' [Canto 1st]

In this Toilet scene Belinda, dressed in an immense crinoline skirt, is attended to by an array of servants. She coyly tilts her head while a single lock of her hair is dressed by a coiffeur. Fanciful detailing of costume and perfume bottle enhances the scene's decadent quality and displays Clarke's virtuoso draughtsmanship.

Clarke'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.

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

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