Sunday, November 21, 2010

Matt Talbot in stained glass

Life-like representation of Matt Talbot

The above photograph of Matt Talbot is located on the lower right corner of the photograph below.

Jesus (with notes) by Niall McAuley .

Source: (Click this link to identify the notes below with their position in this photograph.)

St. Peter and Paul's church, Athlone, completed in 1937. Designed by Richard King, of Harry Clarke Studios, Dublin after Harry Clarke's death.

Jesus is shown breaking bread at the last Supper. The theme is Jesus, the Eucharist and scenes and saints associated with the Eucharist.

The notes below are linked to photos of the relevant detail in the window. Some of the notes here refer to Church of Saints Peter and Paul Athlone: An Illustrated History and Guide by Patrick Murray.


1. This is Pius X, with the 1910 decree on the age children receive first holy communion: Quam Singulari Sacra Tridentina.

2. Moses & Co. gathering Manna in the desert. Scouts carrying huge bunches of grapes from the Promised Land appear in the background.

3. St. Gertrude. Ark of the Divinity.

4. Moses striking the rock at Emmaus.

5. Paschal Baylon, says Murray.

6. The Wedding feast at Cana. Water into wine. Conversio.

7. St. Tarcisius

8. Mane Nobiscum is from Luke 24:29, when disciples on the road to Emmaus meet the risen Jesus.

9.Thoma Bene Scripsisti de me is Thomas Aquinas being addressed by Jesus while at prayer.

10. Ecce Cor, Latin for Behold the Heart, with a traditional image of the Sacred Heart, with thorns, flames and a cross.

11. Sancti Venite Christi Corpus Sumite is a hymn attributed to St. Sechnall, St. Patrick's nephew.

12. An image of the church itself, with Jesus on a hill, and a hen with chicks. Two saints - Peter and Paul, presumably - look over his shoulder. Beneath is written Quoties Volui
a reference to Luke 13:34, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
13. Saint Julianna holding a martyr's palm. Icons of her with a martyr's palm can be found with Google.

14. The miracle of the loaves and fishes. Multiplicatio

15. Murray IDs this as John Eudes, with his Sacred Heart.

16. Longinus jabs the crucified Jesus with his spear.

17. Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque, a 17th century nun devoted to the Sacred Heart.

18. Eating the Paschal Lamb before leaving Egypt.

19. Matt Talbot in shabby modern clothes holds a scroll saying "Fast Friends". I don't know why. Note the ends of the chains hanging from his trousers, which he was wearing under his clothes when he died.

20-21: Michael and Gabriel carry a sword and a lily, respectively.

22. Exentera Cor Piscis, Tobit 6, disembowel the heart of the fish. The image is Tobiah walking with the angel Raphael. This image is very similar to Botticini's "The Three Archangels With Tobias" from 1467.

23. Beneath Christ's feet is says Hoc est Corpus Meum, This is my Body.

24. Grape Vines grow at the bottom of the window.

25. Harry Clarke Stained Glass Ltd.

Different comments and photographer, Retro Stu (Stuart), of the Church of SS. Peter& Paul, Athlone-Harry Clark Stained Glass Ltd window (North side) are below:

Dublin born Harry Clarke (1889 – 1931) was a leading figure in the Irish Art & Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. He is most famous for his stained glass works, both religious and secular but also renowned as a book illustrator.

He loved the use of deep, rich colours for his glass with heavy black lines for contrast that give a brilliant jewel-like effect. Together with his style of drawing make his works very distinctive. Chartres Cathedral, France was an early influence on his stained glass but he also absorbed many traits from contemporary movements such as Romanticism, Art Noveau and Celtic revivalism.

In 1889, his father opened up the stained glass & church decorator studio of Joshua Clarke & Sons in North Frederick Street, Dublin. Harry was heavily influenced by the work he saw created there and involved himself in it from an early age showing great talent and proficiency by the time he was 14. After completing his apprenticeships and art degree, Harry eventually went on to run the studio with help from his brother, Walter.

Walter died in 1930 and Harry a year later. After that, the studio was reorganised under the name of Harry Clarke Stained Glass Ltd who continued to produce stained glass in a similar style. The stained glass windows pictured were produced after the death of Harry but nonetheless, true works of art. It was common for the Clarke Studios to recreate the style and details from coloured cartoons that Harry Clarke made early during his short career. The Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studios continued at their original premises in North Frederick Street until they closed in 1973.

The two standing figures in the lower corners are good life-like representations. Their style is very much different from the rest of the window’s panels so must have been painted by another artist. The Venerable Matt Talbot is shown on the right with Pope Pius X on the left.

Note: For an exterior photograph of the Church of SS. Peter& Paul, Athlone, click

We are grateful these photographs (and comments) are online.