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On April 1st 1924 Harry completed his masterpiece, the Eve of Saint Agnes. The window was commissioned by Harold Jacob. Harry created nineteen preparatory drawings in pencil, watercolour and gouache for the panels, which are now on exhibit at the Crawford Municipal art gallery in Cork. The window was exhibited at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) in August 1924 where Harry won the Tailteann gold medal for his stained glass work.
The window is made up of twenty-two small panels, divided into two lights. Each panel is a depiction of a stanza of Keat’s poem, The Eve of Saint Agnes. It is the story of Madeline who is in love with Porphyro, but she can never meet him since he is the sworn enemy of her family. There is a legend that, on St. Agnes’ Eve (January 20th), if she carries out certain rituals, then her love will come to her.
The window’s ten main sections are arranged into two decorative top panels, six main narrative panels and two decorative lower panels. Both lights contain an outer green and grey border that gives unity to the whole. The ten main panels contain their own unique decorative borders.
Photo credit: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
Text by Lucy Costigan 2009