Richard King / Rísteard Ó Cíonga: Stained Glass Artist / Illustrator

Richard King. Artist.
Main St. Castlebar, Co Mayo
Author's Collection
Mall Castlebar
Author's Personal Photo
Irish Stamps
Stained Glass Window, Ballinrobe
Author's Personal Photo

Stained Glass Artist / Illustrator

This extremely talented man was a gifted stained-glass artist also he excelled in oil paintings.  He designed Irish stamps.  His last window was for Newport Church, Co. Mayo. (Westport Historical Society  The Art of Richard King  Westport Historical Society)  [i]

Artist Richard King was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo on 7th July 1907.  He was the second son of Margaret & John James King.  His father was an R. I. C. Officer who retired to Westport Quay during 1920. Richard King was educated at the De La Salle Brothers’ School in Castlebar until 1917, at Palmfield National School in Carracastle up to 1920 then at the Christian Brothers’ School in Westport until 1925.  During 1927 the family moved to live at number 10 Claremont Place in Dublin.  Initially King had wished to become an architect but then studied life drawing with Sean Keating also design / illustration with Austin Mulloy from (1927-1928) at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. Tutor Austin Mulloy (a friend & colleague of Harry Clarke) recognized King’s artistic ability also that he would be highly suited to stained glass art work. [ii]

Richard King stained-glass artist & illustrator was born on 7th July 1907 in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He was the eldest son of John J. King Sergeant in the RIC also Margaret King née Brereton. [iii]

Ruth Devine in this article from October 2009 stated that Richard King a stained-glass artist & illustrator was son of John James King & Margaret (née Brereton.[iv]

Clarke’s Studio

Mulloy introduced Richard King to Clarke: during March 1928 King joined the Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studios.  With Clarke’s demise in 1931 King became chief  designer of the studios.  During 1935 he was promoted to studios manager.  He was instrumental in creating stained glass windows for Ireland, Britain, Canada, United States also Australia.  Perhaps his greatest work (while working at these studios) was the set of windows he created in 1937 for St Peter & Paul’s Church in Athlone, Co. Westmeath; depicted were St. Patrick’, ‘Mary Crowned with Stars’, ‘St. Joseph’, ‘Sacred Heart’,  & ‘Purgatory’ also a series of portraits.  [v]

Own Studio

Richard King established his own studios during 1940 at number 2 Hawkcliff, Vico Terrace, Vico Road in Dalkey where he produced oil paintings also his stained-glass art. [vi]

One of his early commissions was the Kevin Barry Memorial window in University College, Earlsford Terrace, Dublin. [vii]

Seventy-three of his paintings at the Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin include several series of the ‘Mysteries of the Rosary.’  He created works of art for St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford also for St. Jude’s Shrine at Faversham in Kent, England.  He produced ‘The Stations of the Cross’  in oils on masonite for St. Joseph’s Church in Carrickmacross during 1951 also during 1942-1954 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Foilmore near Cahairciveen in Co. Kerry.  (These illustrations had appeared originally in the 1952 Capuchin Annual  they were placed in the church on its opening in Kerry)    [viii]

Two small windows may be viewed at St. Brendan’s in Birr, Co. Offaly. [ix]

His works in Mayo churches included ‘The Assumption’ (1952),’Stations of the Cross’ (1953) also ‘The Old and New Testaments’ (1964) for the church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Swinford.  Richard King’s last stained-glass window in Ireland was ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ (1973)  for St. Patrick’s Church in Newport, Co. Mayo.  On the twenty-fifth anniversary of 1916 King produced an artwork that depicted the figure of Eire as a woman with crown, she wore a cloak with a Celtic broach. (26th September 2011)  [x]


Richard King  illustrated The Capuchin Annual  from 1940 to 1972, several of his illustrations feature from 1940.  His work is catalogued in the 1975 Annual. (pages 205-208.)  [xi]

During WW2 he created religious illustrations for The Father Matthew Record  up until 1972. [xii]

Irish Stamps

Richard King designed twelve stamps for the Irish Government beginning with 1933 for The Holy Year  that included a stamp to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the G.A.A. in 1924, constitution & St. Patrick in 1937, four Masters in 1944, Thomas Davis in 1945, Davitt & Parnell stamps in 1946, four airmail issues in 1948 / 49 also James Clarence Mangan in 1949, article may be viewed at this site:

In 1944 the stamps of 1/2d also the 1s issues were replaced by the corresponding values of the stamp set printed to commemorate the tercentenary of the death of Mícheál Ó Cléirigh that were designed by Richard Joseph King.  Those effectively became the definitive versions of the denominations for twenty years according to this site:


Richard King exhibited just twice with the RHA during 1945 & 1949.  He was a member of the Irish Society of Design & Craftwork.  He entered work regularly in the Oireachtas Art Exhibition where he  showed for the first time during 1932,  then from 1944 to 1946.  His subjects were mainly religious.  His last entry in 1955  was a ‘Pieta.’  He held a one-man exhibition at the Victor Waddington galleries in Dublin during 1948. (Ruth Devine)  [xiii]


Richard King’s demise occurred on St. Patrick’s Day in 1974 at his home in Raheny, Dublin. His widow Alison survived him (she died during 1981)  Their three sons; Kenneth, David also Richard became Artists.   [xiv]

Richard King’s demise occurred on 17th March 1974 at his residence on the Howth Road in Raheny,  Dublin.  He was interred in Mount Jerome cemetery.  (Shane Mawe 20th January 2016 )  (Sheehy):

Richard King’s demise occurred on  17th March 1974 (a husband to Alison also father of four children) in Dublin.  He was aged sixty-four years according to this PDF:


Several informative pieces are included here from Ruth Sheehy’s excellent article in Cathair na Mart Journal  have included beautiful illustrations of Richard King’s art. [xv]

Richard King’s colleague William Dowling noted that King’s ‘urge to depict subjects from Celtic mythology… (His first was an black & white illustration published in ‘The Capuchin Annual) were of subjects chosen from the ancient stories of our race.’  Paintings by Richard King are represented in the Burn’s Library’s King holdings with an oil portrait of ‘Boston Pilot.’  Editor James Jeffrey Roche (1847-1908) produced a watercolour of Roche’s birthplace, Mountmellick, Co. Laois.  In 1945 Victor Wallington publishers issued a set of twenty – six original King Christmas cards.  During 1950 at the installation of the three King windows in the James Jeffrey Roche room at Boston College (now Baptist Library) an Exhibition of Richard King’s Art was displayed. [xvi]

The ‘Queen of Heaven’ was an original, coloured drawing for a stained-glass window, gauche on paper, signed 1950 with lower panel depicted the angel appearing to Mary for St. Columba’s Church, South Perth, Australia. [xvii]

Included in a rare booklet are Richard King’s art works commissioned by author Mons. John T. McMahon.  [xviii]

Seventy years after the Kevin Barry Memorial window was erected in Earlsford Terrace, it was moved to a new location at U C D Belfield Dublin on 7th June 2011. [xix]

Richard King’s  stained glass work may be viewed in Newport Church, Tuam Cathedral also Swinford Church.  Richard King also designed twelve commemorative Irish postage stamps between 1933 & 1949. [xx]

A set of postcards by artist Richard King depicted Saint Brendan, Saint Patrick, Saint Ita, Saint Fiacre, Saint Sennan, Saint Colmcille, Saint Brigid also Saint Laurence O’Toole.  The postcards were all of uniform size at 15.5 cm in length by 9.5 cm in width printed on light card.  Each one depicted an image of a saint on one side, with a postcard format on the reverse as well as the name of the saint also Richard King the artist.  During his career King’s work was strongly influenced by Christian iconography & symbolism.  He also experimented with influences such as cubism & modernism.  This allowed him to develop his own unique artistic identity that is reflected in the postcards. [xxi]

Further information on Richard King may be viewed at the following publications: Sheehy Ruth Autumn 1995 The Art of Richard King  (Nazareth House) in Studies,  An Irish Quarterly Review  vol. 84 no. 335  (pages 267-277) ‘Hope and Resurrection: The Late Work of Richard J. King  Sheehy Ruth in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review Winter 1999 vol. 88 no. 35 (Pages 430-470) also Snoddy Theo 1996 Dictionary of Irish Artists 20th Century (Wolfhound Press Dublin)  [xxii]

Richard King was particularly drawn to religious art.  He developed a thorough knowledge of Christian iconography.  His famous ‘Four Masters‘ designed during 1944 commemorated the tercentenary of the death of Mícheál Ó Cléirigh (qv): was retained for use in the definitive series until 1969.  Following his demise a measure of his popularity was the large number of tributes paid to him in The Capuchin Annual  1975, along with a comprehensive list of his work.  Her article may be assessed at this link:

After Harry Clarke: the forgotten work of Richard King, Nationalist and Modernist Ruth Sheehy  penned this article in The Irish Times  on 22nd June 2020: it included this remark that ‘His stained glass windows in Ireland and overseas, his Stations of the Cross in enamels and his religious illustrations for The Capuchin Annual during the late 1960s and early 1970s, are thus imbued with the uncreated light of God’ it may be viewed at this link:

The Capuchin Annual  featured several images from various windows at this link.  (Images from The Capuchin Annual are courtesy of The Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives.  We also acknowledge Kenneth King (Richard King’s eldest son) who gave permission to reproduce images of his father’s work also Dr. Brian Kirby, Provincial Archivist, Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives for his assistance)  (Sheehy):

A lifelong friend once described him with this tribute that:‘ Richard showed great skill with his hands.  His home was full of toys and gadgets of various kinds which displayed his precocious ingenuity and talent for improvisation’  it may be viewed at this link:

Richard King was remembered as a ‘great friend,’ ‘an engaging raconteur,’ also ‘an experienced trout and salmon angler’  by friends both among the clergy and outside of it’ according to this PDF:

Rev. Fr. Kevin Hegerty published an article on Richard Joseph King on 19th March 2009 in The Mayo News in his column Second Reading.  [xxiii]

Finola on the 27th September 2017  produced this blog on Richard King that included several images of his art in churches with a portrait of the artist at this link:

An article titled Window redressing by Wallace Arminta in the 21st January 2011 issue of The Irish Times reported that following the disastrous fire at St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford that windows installed from Clarke studios during 1932 were not actually designed by Clarke himself, (who had died of TB in Switzerland during 1931, just short of his 42nd  birthday) but by his highly talented younger colleague Richard King.  King’s style clearly owed much to Clarke’s tutelage yet his own artistic stamp was very evident.  He admired modernist contemporaries such as Evie Hone also Mainie Jellett.  He was very well versed in contemporary spirituality, as he drew inspiration from the Scientist-Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  The full article may be viewed at this link. (Arminta Wallace 21st January 2011)  [xxiv]

Whyte’s Auctions sold Richard King’s ‘Cartoon for Kevin Barry Memorial Window (Patrick Sarsfield)’ c.1932′ in Charcoal for the amount of  €3,000 on 22nd March 2021 according to this link:.

This publication may be of interest The Life and Work of Harry Clarke  1994 Bowe Nicola Gordon (Irish Academic Press) that may be viewed at this link:

This collection contains works on paper by early twentieth-century Irish Artist Richard J. King.  It consists of proofs & prints of his illustrations for periodicals, Christmas cards also Irish postage stamps as well as photographs of his stained glass windows may be viewed at this link:

Johnny Mee referenced Richard King in his Auld  Stock column (page 29) in The Connaught Telegraph  on 8th March 2022.  He stated that Charles’s Street was the birthplace of Richard King the well-known stained glass artist & illustrator.  His father was a sergeant in the R. I. C. The family later moved to Westport to live at The Quay.  (NBC)


[i] Cathair na Mart Journal  2009 

[ii] Ibid

[iii] King Richard ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[iv] Ibid

[v] Cathair na Mart Journal  2009

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Mayo People A-Z [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[viii] Cathair na Mart Journal  2009


[x] Archives Diary ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xi] Richard King ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xii] Mayo People A-Z ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xiii] King Richard ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xiv] Cathair na Mart Journal  2009

[xv] Ibid

[xvi]  Mayo People A-Z[Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xvii] Archives Diary ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xviii] Art Antiques Ireland ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xix] UCD News ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xx] Richard King ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xxi] A Set of Religious Postcards ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xxii] Ibid

[xxiii] Richard King ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

[xxiv] Window Redressing ( [Assessed 9th August 2021]

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