art

Rachel Whiteread and Walter Sickert

October 29, 2017 1 Comment
Rachel Whiteread and Walter Sickert

It might be a sign of increasing age, but these days I prefer the quieter Tate Britain to the glitz and gargantuism of Tate Modern.  Last weekend we went there early to see the retrospective of the sculptor Rachel Whiteread.  Most of the works are shown together in a single undivided room and there weren’t […]

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Boy in a window

October 15, 2017 2 Comments
Boy in a window

An old, long-abandoned factory in Swansea’s Strand.  It has two storeys, a stone wall at its base and a corrugated roof.  Below, the windows are boarded or blacked out.  Upstairs, where ragged glass hangs in the smashed panes, one window frame’s open.  At its base a round-faced young boy, with dark hair and jug ears, […]

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John Ystumllyn: an African in 18th century Eifionydd

August 27, 2017 8 Comments
John Ystumllyn: an African in 18th century Eifionydd

It wasn’t his real name, ‘John Ystumllyn’, but one the locals gave him. Another was ‘Jac Du’ or ‘Jack Black’. How he arrived, unwillingly, in north Wales is obscure. What is certain is that his origins were in Africa, and that he found a home for himself and his family in the Criccieth area in […]

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Alma-Tadema’s uncarnal classics

August 7, 2017 0 Comments
Alma-Tadema’s uncarnal classics

Alluring women in chiffon and sandals, bright marble benches, azure seas, flower petals falling like rain.  This was the recipe Lawrence Alma-Tadema hit on for his paintings of scenes from ancient Rome.  Thousands were drawn to buy them, or at least reproductions of them, in late Victorian and Edwardian England. It was all a long […]

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Mr Skates’s ring cycle

July 28, 2017 11 Comments
Mr Skates’s ring cycle

The row over the ‘Iron Ring’ proposed for Flint Castle seems to be over, so the time is right to think more calmly about what we’ve learnt. First, a quick summary of what happened (there is an ignominious prequel, which I’ll skip).  Cadw, responsible for safeguarding scheduled historic monuments in Wales, together with Visit Wales, the […]

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‘The Llanboidy molecatcher’ gan James Lewis Walters

July 22, 2017 0 Comments
‘The Llanboidy molecatcher’ gan James Lewis Walters

Sylwais i ar y llun am y tro cyntaf llynedd. Ar y pryd roeddwn i’n chwilio am bethau eraill yn Amgueddfa Sir Gâr, yn hen Balas yr Esgob yn Abergwili. Hongiai’r llun yn swil, mewn lle anamlwg y tu ôl i ddrws. Ei destun eithriadol ac arddull medrus a ddenodd fy llygad gyntaf. Arhosodd y llun […]

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Henry Holiday’s Boojum

June 23, 2017 3 Comments
Henry Holiday’s Boojum

Martin Gardner, in his annotated edition of Lewis Carroll’s comic poem The hunting of the Snark, includes all of the wood engraved illustrations made by Henry Holiday for the first edition in 1876.  He also reproduces a drawing Holiday made for the book, but which never appeared – a picture of the Boojum, which makes […]

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Llygad crwtyn, llygad dyn: David Jones yn Rhos

May 14, 2017 0 Comments
Llygad crwtyn, llygad dyn: David Jones yn Rhos

Dair wythnos yn ôl cerddais i heibio i gapel bychan S. Trillo yn Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, heb sylweddoli mai’r llecyn hwn oedd y cyflwyniad cyntaf i Gymru i’r bardd a’r artist David Jones. Daw’r wybodaeth hon mewn llyfr mawr newydd gan Thomas Dilworth sy’n dilyn bywyd a gwaith David Jones.  Cymro oedd ei dad, Jim Jones, argraffydd […]

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Roger Cecil

April 21, 2017 3 Comments
Roger Cecil

I met Roger Cecil just once, in 2011.  There was only one way of making initial contact with him, according to my instructions, that had any chance of success.  You rang his number, twice, then put the phone down and rang again.  If you were lucky he would then answer.  I was lucky, and arranged […]

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Phil Eglin’s wobbly jugs

February 19, 2017 0 Comments
Phil Eglin’s wobbly jugs

Haptic art is alive.  Marcel Duchamp’s pale followers have failed, over the last hundred years, to snuff out the pleasure of making things with your hands.  Squeezing red acrylic paint out of a tube and trailing it with a finger over a canvas still has irresistible appeal.  So does mixing and shaping clay and hardening […]

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