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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Late style and Glenys Cour

February 3, 2024 2 Comments
Late style and Glenys Cour

To mark Glenys Cour’s hundredth birthday the Mission Gallery is currently showing around thirty of her paintings, some oil on canvas, others oil on paper.  Most were painted in the last five years, so it’s a very different exhibition from the big retrospective in the Glynn Vivian in 2017, which looked back at over sixty […]

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Two architects of light

January 26, 2024 0 Comments
Two architects of light

Mention Sir Christopher Wren and most people will instantly think of St Paul’s Cathedral.  That includes Edmund Bentley, the inventor of the poetical form known, after his middle name, as the clerihew: Sir Christopher WrenSaid, ‘I am going to dine with some men.If anybody callsSay I am designing St. Paul’s.’ Last week we visited St […]

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Six Ways

January 19, 2024 6 Comments
Six Ways

When I was a small boy there were certain places outside Hoylandswaine, the village where we lived, that I always thought of as my own, special spaces.  They were nowhere in particular – a corner where two roads met, or a pondside, or a patch in the woodland that spread from the bottom of our […]

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Glenys Cour: can mlynedd o liw

January 12, 2024 1 Comment
Glenys Cour: can mlynedd o liw

Ar 6 Ionawr 2024 ymgasglodd cryn nifer o gyfeillion a chyd-artistiaid yn ei thŷ yn y Mwmbwls i ddathlu pen-blwydd Glenys Cour yn 100 mlwydd oed.  Eisteddai Glenys yn ei chadair arferol yn y lolfa, gyda’i golygfa wych dros Fae Abertawe, wrth i gyfeillion ddod ati fesul un, plygu drosodd neu benlinio, a dymuno’n dda […]

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Why is the Welsh Government at war with culture?

January 5, 2024 12 Comments
Why is the Welsh Government at war with culture?

In December 2023 the Welsh Government published its draft budget for 2024-25, a ‘budget to protect the services which matter most to you’.  As expected, the overall budget is seriously inadequate, thanks to the Westminster Government’s economic incompetence and its determination to impose Austerity Mark II on public services in advance of pre-election tax cuts.  […]

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Some books I read in 2023

December 30, 2023 7 Comments
Some books I read in 2023

It’s been a writing year rather than a reading one, but as usual I’ve found so much to enjoy in books, many of them happened on by accident, often in charity shops.  The book club I belong to also threw up plenty of good reads, including the best novel I’ve read this year, Claire Keegan’s […]

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