New Drawing: This Be The Verse

This Be The Verse

This Be The Verse (Pen & Ink & Gesso on Canvas Board 60cm x 60cm)

This was the first of my three submissions to the Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize to be held at the Oriel (although this one wasn’t accepted).

This piece is named after a famous poem by Philip Larkin (contains rude word) and is intended to hint at the difficult relationship Sir Kyffin had with his mother, as she herself did with her father before.

It makes reference to, both his mother’s reaction to being presented with Sir Kyffin’s first attempt at art, a painting of his brother on the potty, for which she beat him, and also to his grandfather’s response to Kyffin’s mother’s birth, since his grandfather seemed more interested in recording the weather in his diary (I originally intended to title this drawing ‘Weather: Showery’).

It also attempts to draw parallels with the ‘relationship’ between Wales and England, and was inspired in part by learning about the Welsh Not punishment meted out in some schools in order to dissuade children from speaking Welsh. From my limited reading on the subject, it seems that, although this was never official policy, it would not have been successful without the support of families. Certainly, it seems that Sir Kyffin was banned by his mother from speaking Welsh in the house; something which he regarded as ‘brainwashing‘.

The Welsh Love Spoon held by the mother figure has relevance to the next piece!


The series of three drawings is intended to pay homage to the life of Sir Kyffin Williams in this, the centenary of his birth, and they were inspired by reading numerous articles, writings and speeches by and about him. Any historical or interpretive inaccuracies are entirely my own!

  1. This Be The Verse
  2. Milltir Sgwar
  3. The Shadow He Pursues

The Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize “was founded in 2009 by the Kyffin Williams Trust and Oriel Môn; and works in partnership with the National Museum Wales, Cardiff and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. The competition – which is held every three years – aims to promote and reward excellence and talent in drawing practice across Wales. It also serves as a tribute to the support Kyffin Williams gave to aspiring artists and the value he placed on drawing skills throughout his career.

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