Kate Eadie - Fair Rosamond

Kate Eadie - Fair Rosamond


Fair Rosamond

“Alas! Alas!” A low voice, full of care,
Murmur’d beside me: “Turn and look on me:
I am that Rosamund, whom men call fair,
If that I was I be.

Signed, inscribed with title and the artist’s address on a label attached to the backboard
Watercolour and bodycolour

73 by 35.5 cm., 28 ¾ by 14 in.
(frame size 110 by 52 cm., 43 ¼ by 20 ½ in.)

By descent in the artist’s family.

Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Autumn Exhibition of Modern Art, 1920, no.1093.

Kate Muriel Mason Eadie is best known as a Birmingham enameller, jeweller, manuscript illuminator and Arts & Crafts designer. She exhibited enamel panels at the Royal Academy between 1905 and 1915. In 1915 she was elected an Associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists which whom she exhibited jewellery and metalware. She was the Society’s first female member. A fire screen by her is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

In September 1940 she became the second wife of Birmingham Pre-Raphaelite painter and stained glass designer Sidney Harold Meteyard (1868-1947). Meteyard’s first wife, Lizzie Fairfax Muckley was the sister of Birmingham artist Louis Fairfax Muckley. It seems that Eadie and her sisters lived at the same address as the Meteyards from about 1916. She had first met Meteyard when she was studying at Birmingham School of Art, she became his student and model and they are known to have worked together on various stained glass schemes. It is unusual to find such a highly finished watercolour by her. In many ways it bears great similarity to paintings by Meteyard and although it was exhibited in Liverpool as being by Kate Eadie it seems very possible that the hand of Meteyard may also be in this watercolour.

The subject is taken from Tennyson’s A Dream of Fair Women, which tells the story of illustrious women who came to unfortunately ends. A popular subject for Pre-Raphaelite artists, Fair Rosamund, one of the great beauties of history, was the mistress of Henry II. The king kept her hidden in a maze in his park in Woodstock, Oxfordshire until his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, discovered her and forced her to choose between the dagger or a bowl of poison.