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ARTIST

SIR KYFFIN WILLIAMS

In 1968, Kyffin received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to record the Welsh community in Patagonia. That visit resulted in works of unusually vibrant colour; it also reinforced awareness of his roots. Painting fast and fluently, he was nevertheless fanatical about structure and form and his descriptions of the process of painting were coloured by the language of military engagement; he “did battle” with a picture and being “defeated” by it made him miserable.


The darkness implicit in so many of Kyffin’s mountain landscapes was a facet of his own make-up. He recognised in it the Celtic tendency to melancholy, but believed it to be exacerbated by circumstance, instinctively feeling that a certain despair and gloom were the logical sequel to his grand mal seizures. So the ostensibly calm exterior - army officer bearing, country gentleman tweed suits, aristocratic nose, luxuriant moustache - hid a more complex personality.


Throughout his career he was rewarded with a great many honours. He was a senior Royal Academician, and for many years he was President of the Royal Cambrian Academy. In 1982 he received an OBE for his services to the arts and in 2000, his 80th year, he was given a knighthood.

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