Fathers and sons

April 12, 2024 3 Comments
Fathers and sons

In time, they say, sons turn into their fathers.  For a while I’ve been aware of this metamorphosis taking place in myself.  The most obvious change is physiognomic.  Nowadays my head and face seem, to me at least, remarkably close to how my dad looked in his later years, though in my younger days I […]

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Aberystwyth yn 1863

April 5, 2024 0 Comments
Aberystwyth yn 1863

Roedd oes newydd yn ddechrau gwawrio i dref Aberystwyth yn 1863.  Ym mis Awst y flwyddyn ganlynol cyrhaeddodd y rheilffordd o’r Amwythig, ac agorwyd yr orsaf drenau.  Bron ar unwaith daeth hi’n bosib i bobl deithio i’r dref yn hawdd, yn arbennig i hala eu gwyliau haf yn yr ardal.  Yn 1864 dechreuodd Thomas Savin […]

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The offbeat eye of Edgar Degas

March 29, 2024 0 Comments
The offbeat eye of Edgar Degas

The Musée D’Orsay is big.  To make the best of your time you need to have a destination in mind.  So once inside it made sense to march straight for the Degas paintings on show.  Three of them took my eye. Though painted at different times over a period of maybe twenty years, they’ve much […]

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Édouard Vuillard’s gardens

March 24, 2024 1 Comment
Édouard Vuillard’s gardens

One of the most obvious, but also the most useful, advantages of seeing the original, as opposed to a reproduction, of an art work is that you gain an immediate sense of its scale.  The French painter Édouard Vuillard would often work on small, even tiny canvasses.  But he was also comfortable with much larger […]

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A tiger in the castle

March 15, 2024 1 Comment
A tiger in the castle

Powis Castle is quite a frightening place.  A huge lump of sandstone glowering down on the Severn valley from its ridge, it was always intended to be intimidating, when it was first built by Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn, a Welsh ally of the Normans, and later on when it was controlled by the powerful Herbert family.  […]

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Gustav Klimt’s ‘Schubert at the piano’

March 8, 2024 2 Comments
Gustav Klimt’s ‘Schubert at the piano’

Until it was mentioned on the radio the other day I’d never heard of ‘Schubert at the piano’, and apart from being fellow-Austrians I wouldn’t have thought that Gustav Klimt and Franz Schubert had much in common – one an extrovert artist fond of painterly extravagance, the other a reticent musician famously given to introspection […]

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In praise of Paul Oliver

March 1, 2024 0 Comments
In praise of Paul Oliver

The name Paul Oliver probably won’t ring a bell for you, unless you’re a vernacular architectural historian or a blues enthusiast.  But if you belong to either camp or (unlikely, but possible) both, then you’ll almost certainly feel a debt to him. Born in Nottingham in 1927 and brought up in London, he was many […]

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Y llyn a ddiflannodd

February 23, 2024 0 Comments
Y llyn a ddiflannodd

Rydyn ni’n hen gyfarwydd yng Nghymru â’r arfer o greu llynnoedd newydd.  Cronfeydd dŵr yw’r rhan fwyaf ohonyn nhw, wrth gwrs.  Mae eu henwau – Efyrnwy, Clywedog, Elan, Claerwen, Brianne, Tryweryn – yn niferus, ac yn atseinio’n alarus trwy’r degawdau, ynghyd â geiriau cysylltiedig: boddi cymoedd, symud cymunedau, codi argaeau concrit.  Ond mae hanes arall […]

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Swansea’s golden age of innovation

February 16, 2024 3 Comments
Swansea’s golden age of innovation

After five years of labour our baby was born last week.  It weighed in at a whopping 1.88 kilograms and almost 600 pages.  Its many parents are rightly proud of it.  You’ll have guessed by now that it’s a big book.  Entitled Swansea’s Royal Institution and Wales’s first museum, it will stand for many years […]

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Breaking up the Hannibal

February 9, 2024 5 Comments
Breaking up the Hannibal

Bruges may be his birthplace and where you’ll find his museum, but Swansea has a claim to be the second home of Frank Brangwyn, ever since his huge ‘British Empire’ panels were diverted from the House of Lords in London to Swansea’s Guildhall in 1933.  Today it’s possible to see Brangwyn’s visions of the fruits […]

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