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IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: The last hour of the night

Title of artwork:
The last hour of the night
Artist:
Clarke, Harry
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Photoengraving
Engraver:
Photographic process
Author:
Abercrombie, Leslie Patrick, Sir
Title of Publication:
Dublin of the future: the new town plan, being the scheme awarded the first prize in the international competition
Publisher:
The University Press of Liverpool (Liverpool) & Hodder and Stoughton Ltd. (London)
Publication place:
Liverpool & London
Publication date:
1923
Curator Comment:
In 1914, in an effort to address Dublin’s slums, the Civics Institute of Ireland announced an international competition inviting designs to rejuvenate the city centre. The competition was won by Patrick Abercrombie and his team, a lecturer at the Liverpool School of Architecture. The planned project was stalled because of WWI and Ireland’s internal strife. In 1922, Abercrombie was invited to revise his plans in light of the destruction caused by the 1916 Rebellion and the War of Independence and the Civil War. A large scale volume ‘Dublin of the Future: The New Town Plan’ was published in 1923, containing written reports and supplemental pull-out site plans.
Note on artwork:
Clarke was commissioned to design the publication’s frontispiece. The monochromatic illustration is entitled “The Last Hour of the Night”. A vampiric figure, reminiscent of F.W. Murnau's horror film character Nosferatu (1922),towers over post-battle Dublin – to the left a composite scene depicts the General Post Office, the Custom House and the Four Courts, in flames. Right of the figure stands a precariously supported, crumbling, yet occupied, Georgian tenement. Clarke’s stylised, monstrous figure symbolises the threatening nature of the city’s environment for its citizens.
References:
Snoddy (2002) and DIB online


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