Evie Hone windows relocated to Gardiner Street

September 19, 2006 in General, News

Presentation of windows in Gardiner Street Brendan McManus reports on the five Evie Hone windows originally in University Hall which will be presented formally in the Ignatian Room, Gardiner Street, on Sunday, 1 October.

Five Evie Hone stained glass windows, relocated from the former student residency, University Hall, will be unveiled in the Ignatian Room, St. Francis Xavier Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin 1.Sunday, 1st Oct. at 3pm.

Frank Rogers, author and historian says the windows are some of the best examples in Ireland of religious icons in stained glass: “Her great gift was in illustrating a Bible story so simply and clearly that it could be understood by anyone who saw it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the five symbolical windows from University Hall”. The windows depict the Lamb the Fish, the Pelican ,the Dove and the Alpha and Omega, all symbols of the persons of the Trinity. Jesuit Provincial Fr John Dardis SJ, paid tribute to the architect, Martin Donnelly, who supervised the delicate removal of the windows. “The Jesuits are committed to the preservation and promotion of these great treasures, not only for their artictic value, which is considerable, but for their religious value”.

Evie Hone (1894-1955) was born in Dublin and suffered partial paralysis aged 11, after a fall while decorating her local church for Easter. A Semi-invalid, her story is one of extraordinary courage, artistic genius and spiritual quest. Hone’s first art lessons were in London at the Westminster School, but it was in Paris that she was influenced by the cubist movement. She studied for a year with the semi-cubist painter Andre Lhote, abandoning him in favour of Albert Gleizes, in her purist zeal for non-representational, abstract art. As one of the cubist founders, Picasso, summed it up: “I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”

In the 1930s the style of Hone’s compositions developed and became more symbolic in their representation. Although her landscapes and portraits are noted for their freshness and vitality, Hone’s reputation rests largely on the intense vibrancy of her stained glass windows. She began working in glass in 1931 and despite her disability, she produced a series of splendid windows including the ‘My Four Green Fields’ now in Government Buildings, Dublin. She introduced a new, expressionist intensity into stained glass. In 1937 Hone converted to Catholicism and was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church by her friend and mentor, John Charles McQuaid who was then archbishop of Dublin. Her work became more religious in character.

During the 1940s Hone received commissions to design windows for churches in Ireland and England. The Jesuits were among her main patrons and friends, and some of her finest windows are to be seen in the Jesuit Retreat House, Manresa, in Dollymount, to where they were moved from the Retreat House in Rahan, Co. Offaly, when it closed in 1991. Dublin, installed in 1948, and now moved to the famous Jesuit church on Gardiner Street. Hone has achieved international recognition and is ranked among the best stained glass artist of her time, influencing both Patrick Pye and Patrick Pollen.