art

The bookseller of Stromness

July 1, 2022 3 Comments
The bookseller of Stromness

Hanging on a wall in the public library in Stromness, where you can sit in an easy chair and enjoy a view of the waterfront through the picture window, is an oil painting called The bookseller of Stromness. It was painted in 2005 by a self-taught artist from Stornaway, Calum Morrison, who had long settled […]

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Heirloom

June 24, 2022 2 Comments
Heirloom

It’s made out of a single piece of oak and sits upright on the window sill, though its planed rear and central hole suggest it was originally intended to hang on a wall.  The head of an adult man or a woman.  The face framed by stylised hair locks, long, straight and deeply incised, and […]

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Swansea and Chile: exploitation, sanctuary, fulfilment

May 6, 2022 0 Comments
Swansea and Chile: exploitation, sanctuary, fulfilment

The Glynn Vivian has a show of work from its collection on the theme ‘art and industry’.  It’s full of wonderful and thought-provoking things: well-known paintings as well as much less familiar items on paper and in other media.  A whole wall is taken up with Josef Herman’s massive ‘Miners’ oil painting of 1951, surely […]

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Making an impression

April 1, 2022 2 Comments
Making an impression

In Aberystwyth last week I called in the School of Art to see an exhibition, arranged by Mary Lloyd Jones, and organised by Neil Holland and Phil Garratt, as a tribute to her husband, John Jones, who died last year aged 89.  Surprisingly, this is the first time he’s had a show to himself.  As […]

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Welsh paintings: gwallter’s top 10

March 4, 2022 4 Comments
Welsh paintings: gwallter’s top 10

Paintings, not painters, you’ll notice.  And the artists are all safely dead (this avoids treading on the toes of the living).  Third, I wouldn’t claim that these are the best ten paintings.  They’re just works that have given me special pleasure and contemplation. Many aren’t very well known.  But see what you think about my […]

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Cefn Bryn and the writers

February 25, 2022 0 Comments
Cefn Bryn and the writers

The sandsone ridge of Cefn Bryn is an obvious magnet for painters, but it doesn’t seem to have drawn many creative writers, despite its brooding presence along the backbone of the Gower peninsula.  One exception is Amy Dillwyn, the pioneering industrialist, feminist and lesbian, in her best-known work The Rebecca rioter (1880), an historical novel […]

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Can the British Museum change?

February 11, 2022 4 Comments
Can the British Museum change?

The recent return to Nigeria of some of the Benin bronzes from collections across Europe has heightened the debate about ‘repatriating’ museum objects to the places from which they were illegally seized. The finely made bronze plaques and sculptures once adorned the royal palace in Benin City and were made over a lengthy period, from […]

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Sir Boris Walpole and the cartoonists

January 29, 2022 0 Comments
Sir Boris Walpole and the cartoonists

It’s a commonplace that since George Osborne set in motion the immiseration of poor people, through his programme of austerity and big cuts in benefits, Britain has seemed to regress to the time of our Victorian ancestors.  ‘Poor laws’, and the nineteenth century distinction between deserving and undeserving poor, are back with us, and so […]

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William Blake, map-maker

January 22, 2022 0 Comments
William Blake, map-maker

You can’t wander far in south and mid-Wales in the early years of the nineteenth century without coming across the name of Benjamin Heath Malkin.  The second edition of his book The scenery, antiquities and biography of south Wales, published in two volumes in 1807, was described by the historian R.T. Jenkins as ‘by far […]

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Late style: Edgar Degas looks at a flax field

December 17, 2021 3 Comments
Late style: Edgar Degas looks at a flax field

In 1892 Edgar Degas was around 58 years old.  Not old, certainly by our standards, and he had twenty years and more left to live.  But the landscapes he painted in the 1890s tend to get called ‘late paintings’, with good reason.  Degas was a Parisian, an urban painter, and the works of his youth […]

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