Sir Kyffin Williams (1918-2006)

Sir Kyffin Williams is one of the most cherished Welsh artists of the twentieth century. Through his life and work, he continually championed Wales and the Welsh culture.

Williams’ preference in his art making was towards painted landscapes, however, he also produced some portraiture work, drawings, and very sparingly photography. His muse was the Welsh countryside, with him spending the majority of his life in his treasured Anglesey, where he was born and grew up.

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Sir Kyffin Williams (1918-2006), a framed and glazed watercolour landscape scene.

Kyffin Williams’ Journey

Williams’ journey into a career as an artist was borne from a failed medical test for the military, due to his epilepsy. From this, he was advised to pursue a career in the arts, which led him to study at the Slade Art school in London from 1941. Williams had a successful career in art teaching, accepting a position at Highgate School in London as Senior Art Master. He held this position from 1944-1973.

Williams received success and acclaim during his active years as an artist. As well as his teaching career, he also exhibited frequently, his first solo exhibition taking place in 1949 at P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. in London.

Patagonia

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In 1968, Williams won the Winston Churchill Fellowship, a programme that allowed the recipient to travel in aid of conducting further research into their chosen field. Through this, Williams travelled to Y Wladfa, a Welsh settlement in the South American territory of Patagonia, adding to his body of work through various landscape work. Lot 403 in our upcoming Antiques, Fine Art and Collectables auction is a piece from this aforementioned collection. The vast mountains of Patagonia are painted in greyscale using the distinctive impasto technique. often utilised by Williams. He used thick paint and a palette knife to create texture, movement and depth.

Upon retiring from his Senior Art Master role, Williams relocated to his beloved Anglesey in 1974. He spent his time producing a large amount of works en plein air, sketching and painting his surroundings in real time. Lot 404 in our upcoming auction, a watercolour depiction of the countryside, is exemplary of his artistic style and point of view.

Williams was awarded an OBE for his services to art in 1982, and a knighthood in 1999. He passed away in 2006, bequeathing a large amount of his works to Welsh art galleries, in line with his mission to champion Welsh art and culture. One of his largest collections can be found at the National Welsh Library, and a permanent collection of his works is on display at Oriel Ynys Môn art gallery in Anglesey.

Auction Details

Antiques, Silver & Collectables | Friday 3rd March 2023

Viewings in Birmingham

Tuesday 28th February 10:00-16:00

Wednesday 1st March 10:00-16:00

Thursday 2nd March 10:00-16:00

Friday 3rd March 8:30-10:00

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