Church of St Mary, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire
AddressChurch of St Mary, Horsefair Street, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, GL53 8JJ
HighlightSouth transept south window
Artist, maker and dateDesigned by James Eadie Reid and probably made by the Gateshead Stained Glass Company, 1904
Reason for highlighting
This window by James Eadie Reid is a tour-de-force of colour and texture. A painter as well as a stained-glass artist, he is one of the most painterly of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century artists associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement. His use of vividly coloured, streaky glass loosely over-painted with patterns and shading creates an intensely rich effect combined with expressive, realistic faces.
James Eadie Reid is a designer who deserves to be better known, and there are several churches with his glass and murals in the Cheltenham and Gloucester area, including All Saints, Pittville; Cheltenham College and Cheltenham Ladies’ College, for whom he was a visiting art master from about 1899 to 1902. He sometimes worked with Sir William Blake Richmond, and sometimes with local architects like William Ellery Anderson.
The church has other notable Arts and Crafts work in the form of a war memorial rood beam, screen and lych gate by John Coates Carter.
James Eadie Reid (1868-1928) was from Forfar, Angus. He had started working as a commercial artist and illustrator in Dundee by the time he was 20, before undertaking art training in Edinburgh. He then travelled to London and worked with Henry Holiday, and joined C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft from 1890-91. From there he became the pupil and assistant of William Blake Richmond, working with him on a number of commissions including the mosaics of St. Paul’s cathedral, London.
At the turn of the century he was working as a tutor at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, possibly thanks to the stained glass and mural work he was doing with Richmond at All Saints’, Pittville, in the town. His work can be found in several locations in and around Gloucester, Cheltenham and Bishop’s Cleeve.
Around 1900 he started working with The Gateshead Stained Glass Company, being their chief designer between 1900 and 1908, and remaining involved as a shareholder, director and designer, until the business closed in 1926.
One of his most important commissions was for the fifteen history windows (1916 – c.1927) in the cloister at Worcester Cathedral, telling the history of the church in Britain from the earliest times until the end of the Middle Ages. A further six history windows were added after Eadie Reid’s death cut short his commission. Five by A. J. Davies of the Bromsgrove Guild (1933-50), and one designed by Ernest Waldron West and made by Camm & Co., (1956-57).
‘The Artist James Eadie Reid (1868-1928)’ on the website of St Columba’s Church, Southwick, Sunderland
‘James Eadie Reid’ by Alec Hamilton, 2014 (via pers. comm. with Kirsty Hartsiotis)
The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North East of England: A Handbook by Barrie and Wendy Armstrong (Wetherby: Oblong, 2013)
200 Scottish Stained Glass Artists by Rona H Moody in The Journal of Stained Glass, Scotland Issue, Vol XXX (2006)