art

Architecture in Wales: a dying art?

December 21, 2018 1 Comment
Architecture in Wales: a dying art?

John B. Hilling has just published a new book, The architecture of Wales, from the first to the twenty-first century (University of Wales Press, 2018, £27.00).  It’s an updating and rewriting of a book he produced in 1976 called The historic architecture of Wales.  I bought my copy for £5.50 in Cardiff in December of […]

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Sir John Perrot: two faces of a ruffian

December 15, 2018 0 Comments
Sir John Perrot: two faces of a ruffian

One of the images included in Wales in 100 objects is a small oil painting by an unknown artist, now in Haverfordwest Town Museum, of the Elizabethan magnate Sir John Perrot.  I chose this particular portrait, painted long after Perrot’s death, because it shows its subject as a jaunty, stylish and dashing character, whereas in […]

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In search of 100 objects

September 30, 2018 0 Comments
In search of 100 objects

September 2018 has turned out to be a month of personal endings. Three weeks ago, after five and a half years of sporadic legwork, we finished the last mile of the Wales Coast Path. This week saw the publication of two books I’ve been working on for what seems almost as long, Wales in 100 […]

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The portraits of Kyffin Williams

September 14, 2018 0 Comments
The portraits of Kyffin Williams

This article is based on a talk given to The Arts Society: Brecknock in Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon on 11 September 2018 to mark the centenary of Kyffin Williams’s birth. Introduction My starting point is a talk given by Peter Lord as the Kyffin Williams lecture for 2018 at Oriel Môn, entitled ‘The portraits of Kyffin […]

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What the bishop said to the queen

September 4, 2018 1 Comment
What the bishop said to the queen

I suspect most people visit Llangathen, in the Tywi valley, to see the wonderful restored gardens at Aberglasne (Aberglasney in its Anglicised form). But the village has other things to offer: a surprisingly bright and roomy neo-Tudor ‘Temperance Hall’, and the large church of St Cathen. (The village used to be more populous than it […]

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Celf gyfoes yn yr Eisteddfod heb waliau

August 12, 2018 1 Comment
Celf gyfoes yn yr Eisteddfod heb waliau

Y farn unfrydol bron yw bod Eisteddfod Caerdydd 2018 yn llwyddiant ysgubol.  Dim syndod mewn ffordd: tywydd caredig, llawer o ymwelwyr, enillwyr teilwng yn y prif gystadlaethau, cerddoriaeth ragorol, a ffrinj bywiog, gan gynnwys y croeso adre ecstatig i Geraint Thomas. Ond y prif reswm, heb os, yw’r ffaith bod dim ffens o gwmpas y […]

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In Bruges, with Gerard David and friends

July 1, 2018 0 Comments
In Bruges, with Gerard David and friends

There are many good reasons for going to Brugge (why do we say Bruges, when it’s a mainly Flemish-speaking city?): the townscape and amazingly preserved buildings, the canals and windmills, the beer and chocolates, the football and the multilingualism. But for me a visit was a chance to renew my long friendship with Gerard David. […]

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‘Civilisations’ and museums

May 7, 2018 0 Comments
‘Civilisations’ and museums

The big BBC series Civilisations has come to an end.  It was designed as a remake of – and a challenge to – the famous Kenneth Clark series Civilisation, first shown in 1969.  The challenge was directly reflected in the plural form of the new title.  While Clarke was concerned almost exclusively with ‘Western civilisation’ […]

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Men come together to make a man

March 30, 2018 2 Comments
Men come together to make a man

I was wandering absently through the galleries of the Glynn Vivian the other day, trying, unsuccessfully, to remember what the Welsh word for ‘unflattering’ might be, when I stopped suddenly in front of a Japanese print. It was in one of the rooms devoted to the gallery’s founding collection, which once belonged to Richard Glynn […]

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Frank Brangwyn’s British Empire Panels

March 9, 2018 9 Comments
Frank Brangwyn’s British Empire Panels

1          Introduction Most Swansea people are familiar with the British Empire Panels.  Many sitting through a dull patch in a concert in the Brangwyn Hall will have turned to ponder Frank Brangwyn’s enormous work.  In a few months’ time the Panels will get more exposure, as Marc Rees’s performance piece Nawr yr arwr / Now […]

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