Tryweryn - Claudia Williams

Editor: Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan.

A hardback book with colour photos depicting the artist, Claudia Williams's artistic response to the drowning of Tryweryn. This lovely book includes bilingual captions and a bilingual introduction by Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan. Also includes The MP Elfyn Llwyd's response to Claudia's work.

 

It is a matter of some surprise that twentieth-century Welsh historians have devoted relatively little attention to the drowning of the small village of Capel Celyn in Merionethshire in order to provide a water supply for the residents of the city of Liverpool.

In the series of twenty-nine striking, emotional paintings reproduced in this volume, Claudia Williams expresses her personal response to what happened – the destruction of a cultured community in Merionethshire at the centre of 'y Fro Gymraeg'. Of the paintings reproduced within the volume, the majority are in private collections, but others included are in Tegfryn Gallery, the Martin Tinney Gallery, the National Library of Wales, and also a small number which remain in the hands of the artist. A list is available on page 71 of the book together with their titles. In addition, as part of the introduction there are four pen-and-ink sketches also by Claudia Williams, each of these also closely related to Tryweryn.

Claudia Williams was born in 1933, and is a prominent figure in the world of Welsh art. Claudia's paintings and sketches usually reflect domestic life, children and grandchildren, families coming together, and trips to the beach. Her obvious love for her subject, together with a keen eye for composition and colour, and the quality of her artistic ability, all come together to create paintings of great honesty and wide appeal. Claudia Williams has exhibited widely over the last half century, and her work is represented in several public and private collections. A very popular retrospective exhibition of her work was arranged at the National Library of Wales in 2000, and an exhibition of her powerful and emotional paintings of Tryweryn was held there in 2010.

Here we are given a convenient summary of the historical background by Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan. When the first whispers came of the likely fate of Capel Celyn in 1956-57, Claudia Williams was living in Anglesey with her husband the well-known landscape painter Gwilym Pritchard and their two children. Although she sympathised with the fate of the villagers, the time was not then opportune for her to respond as an artist to the crisis. A full half-century went by before Tryweryn appeared as a central subject in one of Claudia Williams's series of paintings. She researched in depth in response to these events, and her art work was enriched by her personal experiences of being uprooted from a happy and homely hearth and being exiled herself.

After Claudia Williams and her husband had returned to live in Wales in 2001, she began to take a serious interest in the fate of the inhabitants of Capel Celyn, and they visited the National Library where they were much impressed by the related holdings, especially the photographic holdings, and above all the photographs taken by Geoff Charles, which were the most significant illustrative record of what occurred at Capel Celyn. It was an excellent decision to include in the book two examples of his work – a photograph of Capel Celyn in the 1950s (pp.16-17), and a photograph of the protest in Bala against the plans during October 1956 (p.21).

These photographs were the main encouragement to Claudia Williams to begin exhibiting her work – in the National Eisteddfod at Bala in 2009, and then at the National Library. The main theme of the paintings is the fate of the womenfolk and their children, and domestic, homely scenes. The bright colours used in them offer a complete contrast to Geoff Charles's black-and-white photographs, and within them there is some chronological development from hearing the earliest whispers about the fate of Capel Celyn in the mid-1950s until the villagers were compelled to pack up their possessions and move out of the valley.

Especially emotive are the depictions of simple, every day events happening for the last time – the last day for the children in the village school, the sheepdog trials, and milking the cows on one of the little farmsteads. Outstandingly poignant is the pained expression on the face of the mother who is leaving her home for ever and desperately concerned for her family's future (p.62), and the picture of the local children watching the village being demolished in 1965 (pp.64-65). A most presentable and significant publication overall.

J. Graham Jones

A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

 

Golygwyd gan: Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan.

Llyfr dwyieithog yn cofnodi ymateb yr artist adnabyddus Claudia Williams i foddi Cwm Tryweryn, trwy gyfrwng llun a gair, gyda rhagymadrodd gan Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan a rhagair gan Elfyn Llwyd, yr Aelod Seneddol lleol.

 

Ar y cyfan mae'n syndod mai ychydig o sylw y mae haneswyr Cymru'r ugeinfed ganrif wedi'i roi i'r digwyddiad o foddi pentref Capel Celyn yn sir Feirionnydd er mwyn darparu cyflenwad dŵr i drigolion dinas Lerpwl.

Yn y gyfres o naw ar hugain o baentiadau trawiadol ac emosiynol a atgynhyrchir yn y gyfrol hon, mae Claudia Williams yn amlygu ei hymateb i'r hyn a ddigwyddodd, sef dinistrio cymuned ddiwylliedig yn sir Ferionnydd, yng nghanol y Fro Gymraeg. O'r paentiadau a atgynhyrchir o fewn y gyfrol, mae'r mwyafrif mewn casgliadau preifat, ond cynhwysir eraill sydd yn Oriel Tegfryn, Oriel Martin Tinney, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, ac ambell un sydd yn parhau'n eiddo i'r arlunydd. Ceir rhestr ohonynt ar dudalen 71 yn y llyfr ynghyd â'u teitlau. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir fel rhan o'r rhagymadrodd bedwar braslun pen ac inc o waith Claudia Williams, pob un eto â chysylltiad agos â Thryweryn.

Ganwyd Claudia Williams ym 1933, ac mae’n ffigwr adnabyddus ym myd celf Gymreig. Mae paentiadau a darluniau Claudia fel arfer yn adlewyrchu bywyd cartref, plant ac wyrion, teuluoedd yn dod ynghyd a thripiau i’r traeth. Mae ei chariad amlwg at ei thestun, yn ogystal â llygad manwl at gyfansoddiad a lliw, ac ansawdd ei dawn dylunio yn cyfuno i gynhyrchu paentiadau gonest ac iddynt apêl eang. Mae Claudia Williams wedi arddangos yn helaeth dros yr hanner canrif ddiwethaf, ac fe gynrychiolir ei gwaith mewn sawl casgliad cyhoeddus a phreifat. Cynhaliwyd arddangosfa boblogaidd iawn o'i gwaith yn y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol yn 2000, ac fe gafwyd arddangosfa o’i pheintiadau grymus a theimladwy o Dryweryn yno yn 2010.

Yma ceir crynodeb hwylus a dysgedig o'r cefndir hanesyddol gan Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan. Pan ddaeth y suon cynharaf am dynged Capel Celyn ym 1956–57, roedd Claudia Williams yn byw yn sir Fôn gyda'i gŵr, y paentiwr tirweddau adnabyddus Gwilym Pritchard, a dau o'u plant. Er iddi gydymdeimlo â thynged y trigolion, nid oedd yr amser yn addas iddi ymateb fel artist i'r argyfwng. Aeth cyfnod o hanner canrif heibio cyn i Dryweryn ymddangos fel pwnc canolog un o gyfresi paentiadau Claudia Williams. Aeth i drafferth i ymchwilio'n fanwl i'r digwyddiadau hyn, a chyfoethogwyd ei harlunio gan ei phrofiadau personol o ddadwreiddiad o aelwyd hapus a chartrefol a'i halltudio.

Ar ôl i Claudia Williams a'i gŵr ddychwelyd i fyw yng Nghymru yn 2001, dechreuodd y ddau ymddiddori o ddifrif yn helynt pobl Capel Celyn, a buont yn ymweld â'r Llyfrgell Genedlaethol lle gwnaethpwyd argraff arnynt gan y casgliadau perthnasol, yn enwedig y casgliad ffotograffau ac yn bennaf ffotograffau Geoff Charles, sef y cofnod darluniadol pwysicaf o'r hyn a ddigwyddodd yng Nghapel Celyn. Penderfyniad ardderchog oedd cynnwys dwy enghraifft o'i waith ef yn y cyhoeddiad hwn, sef ffotograff o Gapel Celyn yn y 1950au (tt.16–17), a ffotograff o'r gwrthdystiad yn erbyn y cynlluniau yn y Bala, mis Hydref 1956 (t.21).

Y ffotograffau hyn oedd yr hwb pennaf i Claudia Williams ddechrau arddangos ei gwaith – yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol y Bala, Awst 2009, ac yna yn y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Tynged y gwragedd a'u plant yw prif thema'r paentiadau, a'u sefyllfaoedd domestig, hollol gartrefol. Mae'r lliwiau llachar a ddefnyddir ynddynt yn cynnig cyferbyniad llwyr â ffotograffau du-a-gwyn Geoff Charles, a cheir ynddynt ryw ddatblygiad cronolegol rhwng clywed y suon cyntaf am dynged Capel Celyn ganol y 1950au a'r orfodaeth arnynt i bacio'u heiddo a symud o'r cwm.

Arbennig o deimladwy yw'r portreadau o arferion syml bob dydd yn digwydd am y tro olaf – diwrnod olaf y plant yn ysgol y pentref, y treialon cŵn defaid, a godro'r da ar un o'r ffermydd bach. Tu hwnt o ingol yw'r golwg ofnus ar wyneb y fam sy'n gadael ei chartref am byth ac yn poeni'n arw am ddyfodol ei theulu (tud.62), a'r llun o'r plant lleol yn gwylio'r broses o ddymchwel y pentref ym 1965 (tt.64-65). Cyhoeddiad cymen ac arwyddocaol dros ben.

J. Graham Jones

Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.

£14.95 -



Code(s)Rhifnod: 9781847719249
9781847719249

You may also like .....Falle hoffech chi .....