Harry Clarke (1889-1931)
The Wild Swans, 1915
Ink and watercolour, with bodycolour highlights on paper, 30.5 x 21 cm
Heritage Gift, Lochlann and Brenda Quinn, 2008.
In 1913 Harry Clarke, aged twenty-four, was given his first major book illustration commission by George Harrap and Co., a prominent London publishers. This prestigious job entailed producing forty full-page illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. The book was published in 1916 to great acclaim. The Wild Swans is one of ten original watercolours by Clarke for these magical tales, acquired in 2008 (NGI 2008.89.1-2008.89.10). These exquisitely detailed illustrations have thankfully remained in pristine condition. Their jewel-like colours are reminiscent of the artist’s work in stained glass.
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