Stained Glass Artist
This very talented man was a gifted stained glass artist also he excelled in oil paintings plus He designed Irish Stamps. His last stained glass window was for Newport Church, Co. Mayo.Information from Ruth Sheehy an excellent article in Cathair na Mart Journal with beautiful illustrations of Richard King’s art.
Artist Richard King was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo on 7th July 1907. He was the second son of Margaret and 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 10 Claremont Place in Dublin. Initially King had wished to become an Architect but studied Life Drawing with Sean Keating then Design / Illustration with Austin Mulloy from 1(927 – 1928) at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. His Tutor Austin Mulloy (a friend and colleague of Harry Clarke) recognized King’s artistic ability also that he would be highly suited to stained glass.
Mulloy introduced King to Clarke in March 1928 King joined the Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studios. When Clarke died 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 and Australia. Perhaps his greatest work (while working at these studios) was the set of windows he created in 1937 for St Peter and Paul’s Church in Athlone, Co. Westmeath; those six windows depict St. Patrick, Mary Crowned with Stars, St. Joseph, Sacred Heart, Purgatory also a series of portraits.
King established his own Studios during 1940 at 2. Hawkcliff, Vico Terrace, Vico Road in Dalkey where he produced oil paintings also his Stained Glass art. [i] One of his early commissions was the Kevin Barry Memorial window in University College, Earlsford Terrace, Dublin. [ii] During W. W. 2.he created religious illustrations for The Father Matthew Record up until 1972. There are 73 of his paintings at the Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin, including 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, 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) [iii] There are two small windows to be found at St. Brendan’s in Birr co. Offaly. [iv] His works in Mayo churches are 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. 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 art that depicted the figure of Eire as a woman with crown, cloak and Celtic Broach. [v]
He designed twelve stamps for the Irish Government beginning with 1933 for ‘The Holy Year’ that includes; also a stamp to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the G.A.A. in 1924, Constitution & St. Patrick in1937, Four Masters in 1944, Thomas Davis in 1945, Davitt and Parnell stamps in 1946, Four Airmail Issues in 1948/49 and James Clarence Mangan in 1949. He illustrated the Capuchin Annual from 1940 to 1972 and many of his illustrations feature from 1940. His work is catalogued in the 1975 Annual pages 205 -208. [vi]
Richard King died on St. Patrick’s Day in 1974 at his home in Raheny, Dublin. His widow Alison survived him (she died in 1981) and their three sons, Kenneth, David and Richard became Artists.
His Kevin Barry Memorial Window in U.C.D. is shown in a 44 page tribute to his memory published in 1975. It contained many Illustrations, plus a compressive list of his Works. As stated in the appreciation his Magnus Opus was a stained – Glass 86’ wide x 14’ high (1957 / 8) for the St. Thomas Moore Chapel of the University of Western Australia. [vii]
Richard King’s colleague William Dowling noted that King’s “urge to depict subjects from Celtic mythology. His first was in Black and 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 as well, by an oil portrait of Boston Pilot editor James Jeffrey Roche (1847 -1908) plus a watercolour of Roche’s birthplace, Mountmellick, Co. Offally. In 1945 Victor Wallington publishers issued a set of twenty –six original King Christmas Cards. During 1950 at the installation of three King windows in the James Jeffrey Roche room at Boston College an Exhibition of Richard King’s art was displayed. [viii]
The Queen of Heaven was an original coloured drawing for a stained glass window, gauche on paper, signed 1950 with lower panel depicting the Angel appearing to Mary for St. Columba’s Church, South Perth, Australia. [ix] Included in a rare booklet are King’s Works commissioned by the author Mons. John T. McMahon [x] 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 June 7th 2011. [xi]
[i] Sheehy Ruth (2009); The Art of Richard King. Article, Cathair na Mart, Journal of Westport Historical Society, .
[iii] Sheehy Ruth (2009); The Art of Richard King. Article, Cathair na Mart, Journal of Westport Historical Society,