Belfast Telegraph

Stained glass artwork on display

A controversial work by famous Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke depicting a nude dancer has gone on permanent display around the corner from his former studio.

The scene was part of an orginal panel for the so-called Geneva Window - a gift from the fledgling Irish Free State to the United Nations in the 1920s.

The masterpiece was made up of images drawn from the works of 15 of Ireland's finest writers, and WB Yeats helped Clarke select them.

But there was unease in the then Government over Clarke's depiction of Liam O'Flaherty's novel Mr Gilhooley, as it included two naked women, including the barely veiled dancer Nelly.

Instead of sending it to the Labour Court in Geneva, it was relegated to Government Buildings in Dublin.

Although the epic work has since been sold to a private art collector in Florida, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane on Parnell Square has bought an original section of the controversial panel.

The piece was set aside by Clarke because of a hairline crack and has been in private hands for decades.

Nicola Gordon Bowe, an expert on Clarke, said the acquisition is a cause for great celebration.

"Not only is it one of Clarke's finest and last works. But it goes some way for atoning for Ireland's loss of the Geneva Window," she added.

"Until his death in January 1931, he was mystified by the grave offence it caused."

Margarita Cappock, of the Hugh Lane, said the newly-acquired piece will take pride of place next to Clarke's magnificent Eve of St Agnes window.

"It is particularly appropriate given the fact that Clarke had close ties with this area of Dublin and lived and worked around the corner from the gallery until his untimely death in 1931," she added.

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