art

The memory of Sir Thomas Picton

August 23, 2019 0 Comments
The memory of Sir Thomas Picton

One of the many noxious elements making up the miasma of Brexiter thinking is exceptionalism.  The idea that Britain is naturally superior to other countries, and that it is strong enough to stand alone against every foe, has deep roots – much deeper than the Battle of Britain, so often trundled out by politicians.  If […]

Continue Reading »

Richard Wilson on Cadair Idris

August 17, 2019 2 Comments
Richard Wilson on Cadair Idris

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Cadair Idris, which my father-in-law introduced me to as the best mountain walk in Wales, sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.  As usual I started from Minffordd.  After reaching Llyn Cau I circled clockwise round Craig Cau, Pen-y-gadair and Mynydd Moel.  Early cloud lifted from […]

Continue Reading »

William Blake on the moon

July 26, 2019 0 Comments
William Blake on the moon

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin may have reached the surface of the moon fifty years ago this week.  But William Blake beat them to it, by 176 years.  What’s more, he had no use for the sophisticated technologies of the Apollo 11 mission.  All he needed was a long ladder.  It’s easy for us, in […]

Continue Reading »

Black boys

June 16, 2019 0 Comments
Black boys

On the way to give a talk in Killay Library in Swansea last week I passed a pub I remembered seeing before.  It struck me as odd the first time.  Not because of its building or location, but because of its name – The Black Boy. Years ago such a name might not have raised […]

Continue Reading »

‘Very infuriating, never quite right’: Kyffin Williams yr awdur

May 25, 2019 0 Comments
‘Very infuriating, never quite right’: Kyffin Williams yr awdur

Diolch o galon i Ymddiriedolaeth Kyffin Williams am y gwahoddiad i draddodi Darlith Flynyddol Kyffin Williams eleni.  Rydw i’n ymwybodol o’r darlithoedd rhagorol gan gyfres hir o siaradwyr eraill ar Kyffin.  Maen nhw wedi treulio blynyddoedd yn ymchwilio ac yn meddwl am gelf a bywyd Kyffin.  Ni allaf honni fy mod yn un o hoelion […]

Continue Reading »

Three paintings in Vienna

April 14, 2019 1 Comment
Three paintings in Vienna

In the Leopold Museum in Vienna, a long wall is covered with small panels that show photographs and short lives of dozens of cultural figures who were active in the city at the start of the twentieth century: Freud, Mahler, Schoenberg, Musil, Wedekind, Klimt and many others – almost all of them well-known today.  Only […]

Continue Reading »

Why isn’t visual art a big thing in Wales?

March 3, 2019 3 Comments
Why isn’t visual art a big thing in Wales?

How healthy are the visual arts in Wales?  Not just in the sense of how many or how good are the artists, but other, more contextual questions, such as:  How are they valued?   How are they supported?  How are artists encouraged and trained?  How are the arts used to bring new life to depressed communities?  […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »