Harry Clarke -DVD Meet the team

Revel In Blue - DVD -Team


Anthony Costigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Theresa Cullen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Michael Cullen

 

 

 

 


Lucy Costigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ray McGovern
 

Anthony Costigan, Director and Designer of A Revel In Blue.
It was quite a challenging project from the start with many late nights and endless cups of tea as the team and myself tried to work out how best to portray the life and work of the great man, but with Lucy's superb script and Michael’s marvellous photography, not forgetting Theresa’s and Ray's tireless contribution of research, production and just about anything else you could think of, it made my job of creating this film so much easier.

My main vision for the film was to show Harry Clarke’s windows, as they had never been seen before. I wanted to bring them to life, especially the characters in the windows, and so I began working with various software techniques to create the effect of movement. You can see this especially in the Eve of St. Agnes and the Geneva window. The other great challenge was to remain true to Harry Clarke’s life story while making the film dramatic and interesting. The interviewers were the main key to this, particularly Harry’s granddaughter, Sunniva Clarke Sheridan. The way that Sunniva describes Harry’s illness, death and the destruction of his grave is very emotional.  Of course Rory Mullen’s superb narration gave the whole film a special quality. His final narration of Lennox Robinson’s obituary for Harry is absolutely brilliant. I hope that all the viewers are inspired and uplifted after seeing A Revel In Blue, that despite Harry’s early death his windows live on as ‘’an inspiration to the faithful’’.  

Theresa Cullen, Researcher and Executive Producer of ‘A Revel In Blue’.
It was when my sister, Lucy, began writing the book ‘’Strangest Genius’’ and my son, Michael, was photographing the stained-glass windows, that I became involved.  I began researching the papers and Studio records of Harry Clarke at the National Library of Ireland and Trinity College Library with Lucy and our cousin, the historian, Raymond McGovern. I became fascinated researching the life and work of this enormously talented man. It was amazing to realise that I was actually holding a letter that Harry himself had written, or a postcard he had sent to his wife, Margaret. That really brought Harry Clarke to life. It was also fascinating to read the correspondence of Harry’s father, Joshua Clarke and Harry’s brother, Walter. Reading through the many articles on Harry Clarke in ‘The Irish Times’ also gave me a great insight into this Irish genius, but also into the man himself. The day I opened a folder containing two little black-covered, business dairies of Harry’s was an unbelievable feeling, holding these left me feeling very privileged. Harry Clarke was a person I would have liked to have known as, in all his correspondence he comes across as having a good sense of humour, as being intelligent, modest, a loyal friend and a loving father.

I was also closely involved with my brother, Anthony, in producing the film documentary, ‘A Revel in Blue’. The whole Harry Clarke team-as we called ourselves-spent many hours sitting at my kitchen table, discussing ideas for the next scene over cups of tea and plates of tart and cake.  Our aim for the DVD was to show Harry Clarke’s beautiful stained-glass windows. His work is so full of amazing detail: the delicacy of the characters’ robes; the symbols that tell the story of the character’s life; the exquisite hats, shoes and sleeves that Clarke created for Mary and all those saints and angels. I feel we’ve succeeded in bringing the unique beauty of Harry Clarke’s windows to the screen. I hope people enjoy it.

Micheal Cullen, photographer, author
These last two and a half years have been very exciting working on the Harry Clarke project. It all started when I suggested to Lucy that we should do a book on Harry Clarke’s windows. I’m a sports photographer but I’ve always had a special interest in night photography and I quickly became fascinated by photographing stained glass. I travelled to all the locations to photograph Harry’s windows. I took about 55,000 images and, from these, I selected the very best images to use in the book and film. I also designed the website that was funded by the Heritage Council. It was amazing to see this being launched by Mary Kennedy on RTE’s Nationwide on December 13th 2010. It has been a brilliant few years and I really hope everyone enjoys Harry Clarke’s magnificent windows on the website, in ‘Strangest Genius’ and in ‘A Revel In Blue’.


Lucy Costigan, author and writer
I first encountered a Harry Clarke window when I was a student in 1985, aged 21, travelling between Wexford and Dundalk. The bus I got from Dublin to Dundalk was located at Parnell Square. I had some time to spare on one of these journeys so, always an art fan, I went in to browse around ‘The Hugh Lane’ gallery. I had never heard of Harry Clarke but suddenly I was face to face with the most beautiful artwork I had ever seen. ‘The Eve of Saint Agnes’ portrayed a fairytale in glass. I was stunned by the exquisite colours, the incredible detail of the robes and castle interior, and the shimmering beauty of the main heroine. I told family and friends that they just had to see this window. I was really smitten! Later I learned that Harry Clarke was a master of stained glass as well as a brilliant illustrator. ‘The Eve of Saint Agnes’ combines his genius in both mediums. 

From then on, anytime I was travelling around the country I would check to see if I was close to a Harry Clarke window. I discovered his marvellous work in the Honan Chapel in Cork, and his ‘Life of Christ’ windows (1924) in Diseart, in Dingle. There is also one of his windows just across the road from where I live in Wexford, The Madonna and Child adored by Sts. Aidan and Adrian (1919), in Bride Street Church.

 It was my dream to bring the work of Harry Clarke to a wider national and international audience. It took about 18 months to research and write ‘Strangest Genius’, to write the script for ‘A Revel In Blue’ and the text for this website. It has been an incredible journey, working with the very talented and committed members of my family on all aspects of the project. This whole project is a celebration of the work of Harry Clarke. Above all else, I hope that Harry’s spirit is happy with our efforts.

 

Ray McGovern, Researcher, Historian and Production Coordinator.

My first knowledge of the Harry Clarke project was when my dear cousin Lucy Costigan from Wexford sent me a copy of a beautifully bound prototype book on the Harry Clarke windows at Diseart, in Dingle, Co. Kerry. She had written, photographed, designed and edited it and had got a few copies printed. Since I was well known in museums and libraries in Dublin as an avid researcher, I was well placed to test the market for such a publication. I discovered there was a large pent up demand for Harry Clarke material in the various shops associated with the above institutions. Indeed the man running the Hugh Lane Gallery was anxious for an immediate supply, such was his confidence in the market, and that was in the late Celtic tiger period when national and tourist spending was at a high level. Lucy worked out the economics of scale of this and, in consultation with the family-the other members of the eventual project team-decided to do a major project on the entire stained-glass work and life of Harry Clarke.
This project had huge logistical and financial implications as Harry Clarke is not only in churches and institutions all over Ireland and Britain but also in Australia and the USA. The project was in part funded by the Heritage Council to cover the cost of travel and the purchase of images from art galleries. I was particularly fortunate to make contact with the grand daughter of the great artist, Sunniva Clarke Sheridan, and she was a serendipitous addition to the project and featured in each stage as it developed. I was deeply engrossed in research and seeking image rights in Dublin and abroad when Lucy announced another coup that Nonsuch publishers, later to be known as The History Press Ireland, had agreed to publish what was to be a major book-“Strangest Genius”-the first in twenty years on the great artist. I was still dizzy with the pace of the project when I realised a parallel film project was also begun with Anthony Costigan, Lucy’s brother, taking a huge role in editing and enhancing the images. The brilliant application of music to these extraordinary images of Harry Clarke’s stained glass was indeed a heady combination. Lucy had written the script and Michael Cullen had captured over fifty thousand glorious images from which the DVD images were selected. Lucy, Theresa and myself continued to research in Trinity College, at NCAD and in the National Library. The result of all of this was to display Harry Clarke’s work on the screen in a never-before experienced standard. For this is what has finally emerged.  The combination of this website, the book "Strangest Genius" and the film, “A Revel In Blue" can never be surpassed in brilliance, as all the state of the art technology has been brought to bear, which was not available for previous works. So it has been an extraordinary experience to have been involved in such an enormous but exhilarating project.
There were anxious moments and difficult times but the project was never less than exciting. We owe all this to Lucy’s great sense of what good art is and she has possessed this sense from an early age. My role as historian was also an asset to the project. Historical research has, until now, been a fairly private pursuit although a highly passionate one. I have however had publication in local history books and in a magazine called “Wexford Life”, which Lucy also spearheaded. What, with radio interviews in Dublin and Wexford, and television appearances on RTE’s Nationwide program, broadcast on Monday, 13th December 2010, we are all quite carried away with the power of the project, but most of all by the power of Harry Clarke’s art to which we are all now solemnly devoted for ever.