Art History Keynote, by Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe 

Harry Clarke (1889-1931): Searching, Identifying, Recording and Documenting 1974-2014

Session 1: Stained Glass Studios in Ireland

Muriel Ryan (Abbey Stained Glass): The design and manufacture of a new stained glass window

This paper will discuss the various steps involved in carrying out a stained glass commission, from discussing the client’s requirements and interpreting the client’s brief to the artist, who will draw up a preliminary design, to fitting the new stained glass windows in place.

Ken Ryan (Abbey Stained Glass): The restoration of the Clarke Studios windows at St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford

St. Mel’s Cathedral is about to reopen after a fire on Christmas Day in 2009. This paper will discuss the process of salvaging the Harry Clarke Studios windows in the Cathedral, which was carried out by Abbey Stained Glass Studios. After establishing that the Clarke Studios windows were saveable, they had to be removed and the undamaged pieces of stained glass had to be photographed and catalogued. The missing pieces had to be recreated from previous photographs, and using old ‘rubbings’ to establish the size of each piece of coloured antique glass.

Dom Laurence Walsh (Mount St. Joseph, Roscrea): Sharing a researcher’s point of view

“Sharing a Researcher’s Point-of-View” is a brief presentation of the research involved in the production of Lumen Christi, a 240 page account of the stained glass windows of Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, Roscrea. Starting from scratch, research established who made the first 30, what they cost, who paid for them, when installed, their significant details. While aware of the background to our seven Clarke Studio windows, there were additions that searches in Trinity College Manuscripts and Archives Research Library made available. Hopefully sharing this experience of research may give digitisers an insight into the mind and needs of a researcher.

Paul Donnelly (TCD): Here, There and Everywhere: The Studios Global Reach

Harry Clarke Studios continued to operate for over forty years after the death of Clarke in 1931. In that time hundreds of commissions were received ranging from single glass panels to entire schemes for new church buildings. The orders came from all over Ireland, the UK and many other parts of the world including USA, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. This talk, mainly based on information from the Studios archive, will describe some of these commissions and will show how the Studios adapted to client requirements while still maintaining a connection to the style established by Harry Clarke.

Session 2: The cultural context to stained glass in Ireland

Roisín Kennedy: Reflecting the State. The Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studios and public religious art in the New Ireland

Focusing on specific case-studies, the paper considers the connections and changes between the stained glass commissions undertaken by the Harry Clarke Studios before and after the death of Harry Clarke in 1931. Tracing continuities and discontinuities in iconography and patronage, it considers how the wider social and cultural contexts of the Free State impacted on the production and reception of these commissions. To what extent did the studios provide modern Ireland with a distinctive type of public art and to what extent can its commissions be considered subversive to the dominant ideologies of the period?

Fiona Bateman (NUI Galway): The African connection: Clarke Studios and Ireland’s Foreign Missions

Digital Collections Keynote, by Simon Tanner

Through a glass, darkly – Reflections upon digitisation

Digitisation is a process in which we seek to find a digital future from the material cultures and intellectual objects of the past. We seek to reflect upon these to gain new insights and possibly even fresh enlightenment. But as Paul the apostle stated in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “we see through a glass, darkly” and have an obscure or imperfect vision. Simon Tanner hopes in this keynote he will add light by sharing his reflections upon the benefits and value of digitization to research and scholarship. Further he will seek to provoke debate and discussion – can we see more clearly by using digitization as a means to investigate the past?

Session 3: The contribution of digital libraries to humanities research

Natalie Harrower (RIA, DRI): Digital Preservation and the Humanities and Social Sciences

The term ‘digital preservation’ isn’t particularly ‘sexy’ on its own, conjuring up images of an airless room with carefully calibrated technology, or a computer locked tightly away in a safe. But digital preservation actually provides the entry point to a wealth of collections, and ensures that these collections are organised, accessible, and consistently available for the foreseeable future. This talk will address the importance of digital preservation to scholarly inquiry, and focus on the role that trusted digital collections play in humanities and social sciences research.

Angela Griffith and Emma Clarke (TCD): Drawn to the page and screen – creating a digital platform for Irish artists and illustration

Trinity College Library Dublin holds some of the most significant Irish illustrated publications from the 19th and 20th centuries. From October 2012 to April 2013 an exhibition of select examples, entitled ‘Drawn to the page – Irish artists and Illustration 1830-1930’, was held in Trinity College Library’s Long Room. Inspired by the success of this event, the curators in collaboration with the TCD library, Trinity Centre for High Performance Computing and Digital Humanities, TCD have developed a digital database which will provide a unique, informed resource in relation to Irish artists and illustration.

By examining the database entries for the artist Harry Clarke, this paper will outline the processes, theories and objectives of the ‘Drawn to the Page’ project, from the pedagogical to the digital.

Joanne Carroll & Marta Bustillo (TCD): The Clarke Studios Project

This two-part presentation will discuss aspects  of the ongoing Clarke Studios Digitisation Project, which is being carried out by the Digital Resources and Imaging Services at Trinity College Library, as a demonstrator project for the Digital Repository of Ireland. Joanne’s paper will discuss the digitisation of the Clarke Studio Archive and the imaging of the actual stained glass windows, which are represented in the manuscript collection. The paper will examine the visceral experience of photographing the archive and windows in situ, compared to the technical aspects of the project. Marta’s paper will explore the ways in which a digital collection such as the Clarke Studios Archive can be promoted and made available to interested researchers and the general public via strategic collaborations with individuals and institutions.


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