Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thomas A. O'Shaughnessy

Thomas O'Shaughnessy (1870-1956), listed as an associate member of the P&C in the 1906 member's roster, was a Chicago Daily News staff artist. Shown above in a photo from 1914, O'Shaughnessy also lectured on Roman art in the P&C's early twentieth-century lecture series.

Because of O'Shaughnessy's position with the Daily News, one might expect him to be well represented in the Chicago Daily News photo archive. One would be right. The photo archive contains a number of photos of him and his paintings. (He was also known as "Gus O'Shaughnessy," apparently because his middle name was Augustus.)

But O'Shaughnessy will be remembered in Chicago for his design, execution and installation of fifteen stained glass windows at Old St. Patrick's Church at Des Plaines and Adams on the near west side. According to the St. Patrick's website: "Inspired by the Celtic art exhibit at the Columbian Expostition of 1893 and the Book of Kells in Ireland, Thomas A. O’Shaughnessy designed, constructed, and personally installed the fifteen beautiful stained-glass windows of Old St. Patrick’s between 1912 and 1922." The windows include a triptych done in the art nouveau style. O'Shaughnessy's windows are also given an exuberant review by the Encyclopedia of Chicago History:
thanks to the genius of artist Thomas A. O'Shaughnessy, St. Patrick's was transformed, between 1912 and 1922, into the best-known example of Celtic Revival Art in America. Drawing inspiration from the ninth-century illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells, O'Shaughnessy created luminescent stained-glass windows and interlace stencils. Restored to their original beauty in 1996, O'Shaughnessy's designs continue to challenge conventional notions of Irish identity and sacred space.
Those windows would be worth a field trip to check out, wouldn't they?


Blogger Butch said...

I am a docent at Old St Pats. The church does have tours. I would be happy to put you in touch with the coordinator.

John Murtagh

November 30, 2007  

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