The archives of the church decoration and stained glass firm Joshua Clarke & Sons and its successor, Harry Clarke Stained Glass Limited, are currently being digitised and catalogued by the Digital Resources and Imaging Services Department in Trinity College Library Dublin. The collection consists of over 1400 designs for stained glass windows, as well as the firm’s business records from ca. 1893 to 1973 when they closed down, including correspondence with clients, estimates, order books, financial records, workmen time sheets, etc. The project is a Demonstrator for the Digital Repository of Ireland, the national trusted digital repository for humanities and social sciences data.
The firm, founded by Joshua Clarke ca. 1893 in Dublin, was initially called Joshua Clarke & Sons, and it was a church decorating business. Harry Clarke (1889-1931), one of the most highly regarded Irish artists of the 20th century, took over the running of the firm with his brother Walter after their father Joshua’s death in 1921, and in 1930 the firm’s name changed to Harry Clarke Stained Glass Ltd. After Walter’s and Harry’s deaths in 1930 and 1931 respectively, Harry’s wife Margaret Clarke took over the running of the business, which was extremely successful for over 40 years, until it eventually closed down in 1973. The firm produced stained glass windows not only for churches all over Ireland, but also in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Philippines, Burma, Hong Kong and Singapore.