Henry Holiday in Cumbria

Henry Holiday

Henry Holiday


Henry Holiday was born on 17th June 1839 in London. In 1855, aged 16, he made his first journey to the Lake District. Throughout the rest of his life he was to make many more trips, often holidaying for long periods of time.
 
In 1908 he designed his own home, Betty Fold, near Hawkshead.
 
He often stayed at Brantwood, home of John Ruskin, who introduced him to Edward Burne-Jones. From 1872 onwards, he was a regular visitor at Muncaster Castle.
 
 
He spent much of his time sketching the views from the hills and mountains. He wrote that ‘for concentrated loveliness I know nothing that can quite compare with the lakes and mountains of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire’. Most of his sketch books are now in private hands, though one is in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
 
Henry Holiday was a frequent visitor to the studios of Sir Edward Burne-Jones at his home in London, and Burne-Jones’ influence on him can be felt in his work. At Burne-Jones’ home aesthetic problems were discussed and exchanged by a group of artists, who pooled their ideas, and whose work had much in common.
 
He took over as stained glass window designer at Powell’s Glass Works, after Burne-Jones left in 1861 to work for Morris & Co. He fulfilled more than 300 commissions, mainly for American clients. As a painter he excelled in drapery, producing figure subjects close in spirit to the work of Rossetti. He illustrated Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark’.
 
In 1891 Henry Holiday left Powell’s and set up his own stained glass works.
 
He died on April 15th, 1927, two years after his wife Kate (who did embroidery work for the William Morris Company).
 
The east window at St John’s Keswick, is said to be one of his best. He is also famous for his design of the Brunel Memorial Window in Westminster Abbey London, and his painting ‘Dante & Beatrice’ now in the Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool.
 

One of the South windows at Rydal Church commemorating the step-daughters of Dora Wordsworth.


 

Church windows in Cumbria
designed by Henry Holiday :
Ambleside St Mary 90: NY 374044
Bootle St Michael 96: SD 106884
Bridekirk St Bridget 89: NY 116337
Buttermere St James 89: NY 175170
Calder Bridge St Bridget 89: NY 042060
Casterton Holy Trinity 97: SD 625797
Colton Holy Trinity 96: SD 317861
Cotehill St John 86: NY 469502
Finsthwaite St Peter 97: SD 368879
Grasmere St Oswald 90: NY 337074
Keswick St John 90: NY 267232
Kirkby Lonsdale St Mary 97: SD 611789
Muncaster St Michael 96: SD 104965
Ponsonby none 89: NY 042056
Rydal St Mary 90: NY 365064
Soulby St Luke 91: NY 748111
Warwick-on-Eden St Leonard 86: NY 466568
Winster Holy Trinity 97: SD 417930
Wythburn none 90: NY 325136

 
At Casterton, as well as the splendid East and West windows, there are also large wall paintings by Holiday.
 
His home, Betty Fold, Hawkshead Hill, Ambleside, LA22 0PS [Grid ref NY 339994], is now a guest house. The site contains an interesting biography of Holiday, including his support of the suffragette movement.
 
The William Morris Gallery in London, who held an exhibition of his work in 1989, have published a catalogue of that exhibition, which gives much information on his life and work.
 
Holiday wrote – ‘I have visited many parts of the World and have revelled in the marvellous beauties to be found in them, but for concentrated loveliness I know nothing that can quite compare with the lakes and mountains of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire’.
 
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