Canon Michael MacDonald commissioned Harry to create a large three-light window for the east wall of the chancel in 1926 (Bowe: 1994). The cost of the window was £800 and Canon MacDonald sold his life assurance policy to finance the project (Wallace in The Irish Times, January 14th 1989.) The window’s subject was the last judgement. The Canon’s main stipulation was that all work on the window was to be done by Harry himself (Newport church literature).
It was not until the summer of 1930 that Harry began work on the window. In October 1930 Harry returned to Davos and he died in Coire on January 5th 1931. The Newport Last Judgement was completed by the Studios and was installed in the church at Newport in February 1931. Canon MacDonald was inconsolable that only the right light was completed under Harry’s supervision (Bowe: 1994).
The first light depicts our lady with saints, angels and souls that have been saved. Mary is depicted seated, surrounded by six saints and five cherubs. A procession of saints and angels on their way to heaven is depicted in the lower panels.
The central light shows Christ on judgement day, resplendent in crimson robes and a golden halo, surrounded by saints and angels dressed in sumptuous robes. The souls of the dead are depicted in the lower panels rising form the dead to be judged.
The right light depicts the damned being thrust down to hell. The top panels depict Saint Patrick surrounded by six saints. In the lower panels, the souls who have been judged unworthy are depicted on their way down to hell. A green devil is depicted at the centre of the damned. According to Wallace (The Irish Times, January 14th 1989) the green figure positioned upside down as being cast down to hell is a self-portrait of Harry Clarke.
Bowe, N. Gordon, The Life and Work of Harry Clarke, Irish Academic Press, 1994
Wallace, A, A Poet of Light, in The Irish Times,January 14th 1989
_____Newport church literature on The Last Judgement
Photos Michael Cullen 2009 and Text by Lucy Costigan 2009