The National Gallery of Ireland is delighted to announce a recent gift of ten superb original colour illustrations by Harry Clarke (1889-1931) which were executed for Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Fairy Tales', published in 1916 by Harrap & Co. in London.
The jewel-like colour illustrations, all in pristine condition, have been in a private collection since the 1920s. They appeared for sale last June as part of a special exhibition at The Fine Art Society in London, where they were purchased and presented as a gift to the National Gallery by Lochlann and Brenda Quinn (Heritage Gift/ Section 1003/ October 2008).
In 1916, London publishers, Harrap & Co., published three editions of 'The Fairy Tales' by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by the then unknown young Irish artist, Harry Clarke. As well as a boxed grey clothbound edition and a full leather edition, the publishers produced a lavish vellum-bound edition, with each volume signed and numbered. For this edition (limited to 125 copies for sale in England and America) Clarke drew 40 full page illustrations, 16 of which were in colour, the remainder in black and white. Clarke completed his commission in Dublin in April 1915, around the same time he began work on the stained-glass commission for the Honan Chapel in Cork. Most of the remaining original illustrations in the publisher's collection are thought to have been destroyed during the Blitz in World War II.
Ten colour illustrations by Harry Clarke, produced for 'The Fairy Tales' by Hans Christian Andersen (1916):
The Garden of Paradise
The Snow Queen
The Wild Swan
The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweeper
The Travelling Companion
The Hardy Tin Soldier
This recent gift of Clarke drawings is a particularly significant addition to the Gallery's collection of works by the artist which comprises 6 illustrations from Pope's 'Rape of the Lock' series; 'The Song of the Mad Prince' (1917)- a stained glass piece set in a walnut cabinet designed by James Hicks of Dublin; 15 textile and stained-glass designs; a series of cartoon designs of 'A Winged Angel in Profile' (on display in the Irish 20th Century Rooms); 2 studies for the Notre Dame Convent, Sussex (1924), and a large stained-glass, 'The Mother of Sorrows (1926). The Gallery also has a copy of Harrap's 'The Fairy Tales' by Hans Christian Andersen which was presented to Thomas Bodkin (1887-1961) by the artist in September 1916. Bodkin was a great supporter of the young artist.