Michael Healy, 1873-1941

An Túr Gloine’s stained glass pioneer

David Caron

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-80151-081-3
November 2023. 400 pages. Hardback. Large Format. Full-Colour

"Although Harry Clarke is the Dublin name most associated with stained-glass windows, Michael Healy 1873-1941: An Túr Gloine's stained glass pioneer is a stunning book that presents the story of his reclusive contemporary, who emerged as a pioneering artist prior to Clarke, Evie Hone or Wilhemina Geddes and set the bar for artistic and technical excellence in the stained-glass world. Healy was raised in a Dublin tenement and worked for the world-renowned An Túr Gloine studio for almost four decades, producing masterpieces that can be seen in churches across Ireland and the world, from Newfoundland to Malaysia." Daragh Fitzgerald, History Ireland, May/June 2024

“David Caron argues in this book that Healy was the studio’s key artist due to his lengthy tenure … Caron is the foremost expert on Irish stained glass: he edited both the original and the recently revised Gazetteer of Irish Stained Glass (2021) and received his PhD on Michael Healy from Trinity College Dublin. He is, then, the ideal author to do justice to this most compelling subject ... he has managed to craft a compelling tale of one of the greatest and least recognised artists in stained glass … Although its title suggests that Caron has written a biographical assessment of Healy as an artist, this book achieves a great deal more. It is by far the fullest account of An Túr Gloine, illuminating its history from the events that led to its establishment until the end of the cooperative. In the process, and in his account of both Healy’s life and his artistic work in other media – he made hundreds of pencil and watercolour sketches of Dubliners, which are now highly collectible – Caron offers absorbing insights into the social history of the city during a tumultuous period in Irish history ... This is a landmark publication. It is an excellent contribution to a burgeoning field that has seen a number of recent and forthcoming books on Irish stained glass, for example the aforementioned Gazetteer of Irish Stained Glass, Ruth Sheehy’s monograph on Richard King (1907–74), or the upcoming work on Hone by Joseph McBrinn. Richly illustrated with images of superlative quality – nearly all of which were taken especially for the book by Jozef Vrtiel, even if the use of figure numbers might have made their relationship to the text clearer – Caron’s book is a remarkable achievement that will greatly appeal to everyone with an interest in stained glass or Irish art, scholars and non-specialist enthusiasts alike. As well as illuminating the career of a master in his field, the book deepens knowledge of this rich period of Irish art. The introduction concludes with the hope that it will draw the elusive Michael Healy out of the shadows and allow him to take his place among his better-known compatriots. Armed with this book, it is now our duty to seek out and enjoy his windows.” Stephen Huws, The Burlington Magazine, March 2024

"Caron has in this study done Healy a superb service in bringing the artist - who was a reclusive figure - out of the shadows, and Four Courts Press is to be commended in producing a beautifully designed and printed publication which sits perfectly alongside the late Nicola Gordon Bowe's Wilhelmina Geddes ... This is a fine and very welcome study of his oeuvre - a delight to read and pure enjoyment to pore over its superb images." Dr Paul Harron, Perspective Magazine, January 2024

"This new book by David Caron explores the life's work of a Dublin born artist whose stained-glass can now be seen in buildings around the world." Genealogical Society of Ireland, Winter 2023

"David Caron's Michael Healy, 1873-1941 is subtitled An Túr Gloine's Stained Glass Pioneer, and the dates of Healy's life make this exceptionally well-researched book double up as a fascinating story of Ireland during the dying days of the union, taking us through revolution and war and on, to become a chronicle of the early years of the new Irish State ... He writes engagingly and is adept at knowing when to use quotations, which pepper the text, lending both depth and the occasional enchantingly gossipy air ... Caron can stitch together sources in a way that flows into fascination, and he wears his learning lightly, so the lay reader will find as much here as the educated expert. It is well-referenced, with a comprehensive index and list of locations of Healy's windows." Gemma Tipton, The Irish Times, Saturday November 25, 2023 

“Michael Healy was a genius, but a recluse; a man and artist whose life was mysteriously vague. Now, however, at long last Dr David Carron has devoted a large, well-researched and beautifully illustrated volume to the man, his career and his mysteries ... The heart of this book are long periods of research in which David Caron tracked down, annotated, recorded and had photographed Healy’s windows wherever he could find them. The six-page list of locations alone is revealing of Healy’s work. The photography by Joseph Vrtiel is superb. The chapters of the book explore the shadowy life of the man and the course of his artistic development in exemplary detail ... Michael Healy’s work is not only exceptional, but deeply human too, Jesus, the saints, and the heroes, appear in a very human aspect. They are real people rather than merely imagined.” Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic

“This book – Michael Healy: An Túr Gloine’s Stained Glass Pioneer – is nothing short of a miracle. It’s beautifully written by David Caron, with superb photography mainly by Jozef Vrtiel, and outstanding production values by Four Courts Press. But a miracle? Yes – because David Caron uses his scholarship and knowledge of stained glass as well as the history and art movements of the period to produce an immensely readable book about an intensely private man who left behind practically nothing about his life except his magnificent work ...  The book is profusely illustrated – it’s one of its many strengths – with many photographs of the tiny details in which Healy delighted and which distinguish his windows from those of other artists ... David Caron leads us on a measured journey through Healy’s life and work ... Each commission is described and through David’s detailed accounts we come to understand Healy’s style – what iconography he was attracted to, how he decided on the myriad details with which he embellished his windows, and most of all, his decorative methods ... It is through David’s lively analysis of each window that we truly come to appreciate Healy’s genius and his evolution as an artist, his style developing according to his exposure to more modern influences ... Healy died in 1941. By the time you finish the book, you feel you have lost a friend – a difficult and complicated one to be sure, but one whom you admire and will never forget ... This book is not just for stained glass enthusiasts, though they will delight in it, but for anyone interested in life in Ireland at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, and indeed for anyone who enjoys good writing and a story that propels you through almost 70 years of the life of a significant artist.” Finola Finlay, Roaring Water Journal