Scandalous Harry Clarke window goes on display in Dublin gallery

Naked woman artwork rejected by Irish government in 1930

A Harry Clarke masterpiece was purchased recently by the Hugh Lane Gallery. The small panel was originally created to be part of a larger window in the League of Nations Building in Geneva. It is now on permanent display in the Hugh Lane in Dublin City. Video: Enda O'Dowd

An original stained-glass artwork by Harry Clarke, rejected by the Irish government in 1930 as too scandalous, has gone on display at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery. The work depicts a scene from Liam O’Flaherty’s novel Mr Gilhooley, showing a partially nude dancer, Nelly, Gilhooley’s mistress, covered only by a transparent veil. It was part of a series of eight panels, including 15 pieces inspired by the literature of Yeats, Shaw and O’Casey.

The piece was commissioned by the government for the League of Nations building in Geneva in late 1920s but was deemed to be unsuitable by the then president of the executive council of the Irish Free State ,WT Cosgrave. Instead it was installed in Government Buildings on Merrion Square.

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