Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Oriel Kyffin Williams

This image is of an original painting by Sir Kyffin Williams. Until his death on 1st September 2006 in an Anglesey nursing home he was the greatest Welsh landscape painter alive. Almost as soon as his death was announced there was a move to create a permanent gallery (Oriel in Welsh) in Anglesey for his works. Wales is justly proud of the artist but Anglesey loves him to pieces because he was born here. He lived in Llanfairpwll, the village whose longname is found on the station sign and other sites in the village.

Kyffin joined the 6th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1937. He developed epilepsy four years later and was discharged with this advice, "As you are, in fact, abnormal, I think it would be a good idea if you took up art." This was to be the beginning of his life as a landscape artist and he first taught art at Highgate School from 1944 to 1973.

His work centres mainly on landscape and the Welsh landscape in particular. In 1968 he won a scholarship that enabled him to visit Patagonia to study and paint Welsh descendants. His contribution to art is wonderful and at last the people of Anglesey have been able to show off his work in a brand new gallery which is part of Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni.

Pauline and I were able to call in this afternoon and were very impressed by his work. In the new gallery we saw many wonderful paintings and felt it had been worth waiting for as we had seen the gallery rise from the ground on our Saturday visits to Llangefni library. Actually, the who building has been greatly improved to make it a fit place to see art. All departments are now very much improved. You can buy a large number of books there which specialise in Kyffin Williams' art and more besides.

I write this blog as simply a lover of what I think is great art and this man fits that description for me. Previously I had seen nothing of his work but today I became hooked on it. Some of the paintings are so thick with paint that you have to stand back a long way to see them in all their glory and what they are saying. Personally, I am pleased I went and I shall return many times to see it all again. If you are in Anglesey, do call in for the greatest free show on earth.


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