The windows were originally commissioned for Chartered Accountants’ Hall in Moorgate Place and installed in 1897 but removed in 1970 as William Whitfield’s Brutalist extension was added to the building. The windows will now be reinstated as part of the refurbishment of the Great Hall – a fitting conclusion to the ICAEW’s 125th anniversary year. An unveiling is planned for October 17.
Holiday enjoyed a long association with James Powell at Whitefriars but these windows were made after 1890 when he took artistic control at his own workshop in Hampstead.
In his Reminiscences of My Life, Holiday records that in 1896 he was invited by the ICAEW to enter a competition for the design of four 11ft 4in (3.5m) staircase windows to match the blend of Renaissance and Baroque styles used by architect John Belcher (1841-1913).
Holiday apparently struggled to gain inspiration from the subject but chose the themes of enterprise, commerce, law and finance. Holiday’s original watercolour designs are in the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The windows ended up in the collection of Peter Grant (1935-95), manager of Led Zeppelin, and reappeared on the market again in August 2014 at Dreweatts in Newbury. Bought by decorative arts specialists Sinai & Sons, they were shown at Masterpiece in 2016.
The ICAEW Foundation, a registered charity, purchased the windows. The price has not been disclosed.