This month the National Library of Wales has opened the doors to a new gallery in Glan-yr-afon (The Riverside) in the heart of Haverfordwest. The gallery is the centre piece to a high quality culture and arts centre including a modern library, children’s area, tourist information, coffee shop and even a gaming zone for young adults.
The aim of the gallery is to reach out beyond Aberystwyth and enable the Library to share treasures with locals and visitors to the area. Over the last two years our team has been working in conjunction with Pembrokeshire County Council on the project. There will be two new exclusive exhibitions displaying various items from The National Library of Wales’ collection – The Story of Pembrokeshire and Kyffin Williams: Land and Sea.
The Story of Pembrokeshire
Visitors can expect to see a rich and varied collection of exhibits specially chosen by our curator to represent the history, culture and landscape of Pembrokeshire. Particular favourites of ours are an original letter from ‘Rebecca’ to the Vicar of Penbryn during the Rebecca Riots and Haverfordwest-born Gwen John’s beautifully understated yet strongly composed Vase of Flowers.
More unique items include a manuscript of sonnets composed by T.E. Nicholas in 1940 whilst in prison – written on prison toilet paper!
Aside from all the tangible exhibits you can also browse images of maps, photographs, manuscripts and paintings from the National Library of Wales’ collection. From the earliest Welsh book to J. M W. Turner’s eminent oil painting of Dolbadarn Castle, as well as items relating to Pembrokeshire, from topographical prints to photographs and works of art.
Kyffin Williams: Land and Sea
What better way to close the centenary celebrations and the ‘Year of the Sea’ than with an exhibition featuring a fantastic collection of paintings and drawings by Wales’ most well-known and prolific artists of the 20th century.
Some of Kyffin’s most iconic works are the oil paintings of Welsh landscapes, and this exhibition highlights some of the best in this genre. Look out for Penygyrwyd – the strong dark palette of the artist brings the dramatic mountain ranges of Snowdonia to Haverfordwest. In contrast, a selection of Patagonia paintings following his visit to South America in the late 1960s show Kyffin at his happiest, where the colour palette is much lighter and reflective of his mood at the time.
A selection of his best seascapes are on display. The powerful Wave breaking on Rocks shows how the paint has become an extension of the artist’s climactic emotions. Kyffin’s seascapes exemplify his technique for which he is best-known; a style characterised by a thick impasto, with the oil paint applied almost exclusively with a palette knife.
On the way out of the gallery you cannot fail to notice the calm, warm Sunset on Anglesey– a most reflective painting reputed to be one of the artists’ last before his death in 2006.
We could continue to sing the praises of this fabulous new building, but don’t just take our word for it – why not go and check it out for yourself!
Glan-yr-afon is open Monday to Saturday (10am-5pm) and Tuesdays (10am-7pm).
This post is also available in: Welsh