Harry Clarke, Irish, 1889-1931
Title: "But Trust the Muse, She Saw it Upward Rise"
Date: 1913
Medium: Ink and traces of graphite underdrawing on card
36.8 x 25.9 cm
Signed: upper right (in ink): Harry. Clarke/ 1913
Credit Line: Purchased, 1936
Object Number: NGI.2962
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.
'But trust the Muse. She saw it upward rise,
Though mark'd by none but quick poetic eyes.'
[So Rome's great founder to the heav'ns withdrew,
To Proculus alone confess'd in view].
'A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
And drew behind a radiant trail of hair'. [Canto 5th]
The elegant Muse, wrapped in waves of flowing hair, beholds the lock as it is transported heavenward by a star, attended by a pair of will o' the wisps. The striking contrast between the areas of black and white, in addition to the inclusion of the scissors, heightens this scene's overall sense of drama.

Exhibition HistoryBristle: Hair and Hegemony, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, 07 July - 25 September 2017

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