"Hallowed Fire: The Art of Evie Hone" is now available to stream for free on the Irish Film Institute's IFI Archive Player.

This short documentary about renowned Irish cubist painter and stained glass artist Evie Hone was one of a series of artist profiles commissioned by the Cultural Relations Committee of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Filmed at her Dublin studio in Marley Park in Rathfarnham in 1950, it explores the artist’s life, creative process, and influences. Hone discusses her education and upbringing and demonstrates the process of creating stained glass.

The film is shot mainly in black and white (due probably to budgetary restrictions) with colour stock reserved to show some of her finest stained glass work at the end of the film.

Hone was born in 1894 in Co Dublin. Shortly before her 12th birthday, she suffered from infant paralysis which impacted on her health throughout her life. This did not however deter her creative abilities and after years of studying art in London and Paris, she returned to Dublin to set up her own studio in Rathfarnham.

Her initial love of abstract art and cubist painting was later replaced by a career working in stained glass. One of her greatest masterpieces is the Stations of the Cross window made for Kiltullagh Church in Galway, which was sold by Whyte’s Auctioneers for €42,000 in 2005. She was a friend and contemporary of Mainie Jellett and together they were instrumental in introducing modern art to Ireland.

"Hallowed Fire: The Art of Evie Hone" is part of the IFI's Department of Foreign Affairs Collection.

The Irish Film Institute's Department of Foreign Affairs Collection

The Department of Foreign Affairs, also known as the Department of External Affairs, was one of the many state bodies in Ireland to commission films to be produced on its behalf. Often partnering with the National Film Institute (now the IFI) they generally made films on subjects considered to be culturally worthy and educationally important.

The Cultural Relations Committee, a group within the department responsible for promoting Irish arts and culture abroad, commissioned much of the output, and films such as "A Nation Once Again" (1946), "W.B. Yeats: A Tribute" (1950), and Liam O’Leary’s "Portrait of Dublin" (1952) are representative of the type of historical and informative topics generally featured.

A noteworthy example of more controversial and political subject matter is "Fintona – A Study of Housing Discrimination" which looks at anti-Catholic housing discrimination in Northern Ireland. This film is unusual as the government allegedly made it with the use of a hidden camera, utilising the medium of film as a political tool to address the Northern question. This investigative documentary was in stark contrast to the department’s other non-threatening output, however, after the controversy that followed Fintona’s release in 1954, the Department of Foreign Affairs returned to focusing on less contentious subject matter.

"Hallowed Fire: The Art of Evie Hone" is published here with kind permission of the Department of Foreign Affairs and thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), who IrishCentral has partnered up with throughout 2023 to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collection entails. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.

To watch more historic Irish footage, visit the IFI Archive Player, the Irish Film Institute’s virtual viewing room that provides audiences around the globe free, instant access to Irish heritage preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Irish Culture from the last century is reflected through documentaries, animation, adverts, amateur footage, feature films, and much more. You can also download the IFI Archive Player App for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

IrishCentral has partnered up with the IFI throughout 2023 to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collections entail. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.