Art at the Trefeddian
One of the great features and most enjoyable aspects of a visit to The Trefeddian is its wonderful art collection. Original paintings hang throughout the hotel lounges, reception areas and along the corridors on all floors.
Our Hotel Director, Caroline Cave-Browne-Cave, who manages all of the hotel’s interior design, also curates the art collection. From seaside scenes to rural landscapes and coastal seascapes, our collection features a wide range of imagery and styles.
Two of our most prolific and talented local artists are wife and husband, Claire and Glyn Davies. Their work is featured throughout the hotel, including in many of the bedrooms. In fact, if you fancy starting a collection of Aberdyfi watercolours this is the place to start, as most of Claire and Glyn’s work in the hotel is available for sale.
Claire’s father, Edward Morris, also an artist, was her early inspiration, always encouraging her to observe the light and colour of a scene, when on outings together. Claire’s preference is for ‘subtle tones and changing light’, rather than ‘bright sunny days’. Interestingly Claire says she finds ‘working quickly in an effort to capture a moment, yields better results’. A particular favourite is ‘early morning light on the Dyfi Estuary, when the water is still and creates reflections.
Glyn has painted for much of his adult life. His enthusiasm for his art form was bolstered following a move from the Lake District to Aberdyfi in the mid-seventies. As an Outward Bound instructor he very quickly discovered the ‘beauty and richness of Wales and its people, with a sketchbook constantly in his rucksack’. A chance meeting with Edward Morris allowed him to enhance his watercolour skills, which naturally led to meeting Claire and marriage a few years later.
Despite the closure of their ‘Aberdyfi Gallery’ in 2020, Claire and Glyn continue to enjoy painting with their artwork and publishing available through their website; www.galleryaberdyfi.co.uk.
One of the best known artists in the collection is Martin Llewellyn (‘MLL’). Born in Neath and still residing in the area he takes a great deal of his inspiration from the huge variety of Welsh landscapes. Originally working with water colours before moving onto oils and pallet knife, his work echoes the familiar traditions of the style taught in the Welsh art academies of the 20th century. Martin is completely self-taught, taking up the profession when his wife gifted him some coloured pencils and other materials one Christmas.
His influences over the years have included Sir Kyffin Williams, Gwilym Pritchard and Charles Wyatt Warren. Martin explains: ‘I’m influenced by their technique as well as their subject matter and my inspiration comes from the landscapes and seascapes that surround me’.
Ralph Sanders, owner of the award winning gallery Ffin y Parc, where Martin’s work has been exhibited on a number of occasions, says of him: ‘His dexterity of hand and eye allows Martin to catch the landscape in its moods, changing minute by minute in the light and weather’.
Two particular pieces of Martin’s work to look out for when visiting the hotel are ‘Lighthouse Anglesey’ and ‘Towards Snowdon’. Great examples of his wonderful skill and talent. They can be found in the reception area and main lounge respectively. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
One of the most renowned paintings in the hotel’s collection, ‘The Themopylae’ is by Stan Hugill. The painting hangs in the hotel’s main lounge and draws the eye and high praise of many of our guests. It is the type of tea clipper commercial sailing ship that Stan spent many years working on.
Stan was a multi-talented folk music performer, artist and sea music historian. He was affectionately known as ‘The Last Working Shantyman’. Born a Cheshire man in 1906, Stanley James Hugill’s sailing career started in 1922. It very notably included a stint on the last British Commercial Sailing Ship, The Garthpool, until it was wrecked off the Cape Verde Islands on November 11th 1929. He eventually retired to dry land at the end of the war in 1945.
Stan’s remarkable life also included four and half years as a prisoner of war in WWII. In 1950 he moved to West Wales and took up a position as an instructor at the Outward Bound School in Aberdyfi, where he worked for 25 years. During his former years in Aberdyfi he also worked as a Japanese translator. Just one of the many languages he spoke, including Spanish, Chinese, Maori and Malay. In the mid ‘60s he also presented a BBC TV show, ‘Dance and Skylark’.
Stan lived out his final years in Aberystwyth, where he died at the age of 85 in 1992.
Our third featured artist is the late Wynne Jenkins (1937-2019), a native of Llangennech, near Llanelli, although Carmarthen was his home for 30 years.
Wynne’s primary subject matter was the form and colour of the landscape and buildings of Wales, which were his continual inspiration. Bought to life through the medium of oils and palette knife, ensured a ‘precision of relevant detail’. Like our other artists, he also quotes Sir Kyffin Williams and Gwilym Pritchard as key influences on his work, but also refers to his admiration of Josef Herman, Shani Rhys-James and Claudia Williams, amongst others.
It is said of his work, ‘There is no melancholy here, no sense of community in decline or retreat. Rather we have a vision of a place full of light, energy and love. He makes our familiar and shared landscape, exotic and a little thrilling’.
These qualities really come to life with his painting ‘Cadair Idris & Birdrock’, which hangs in the main lounge. A local and very popular hiking and bird watching spot that can often be a little grey and overcast has light poured on it by Jenkins, making a visit very enticing.
Our final featured and exhibited artist is also a regular hotel guest, Mr Harry Fogg. Now in his nineties, Harry took up painting at the ripe old age of 71! Harry quotes both LS Lowry and Sir Kyffin Williams as personal inspirations.
Born a Mancunian, Harry now lives in the Brecon Beacons, with the hills and valleys surrounding him acting as a constant influence on his work. His work is brave and bold, reflecting the sometimes harsh reality of life in isolated and small communities in rural Wales.
He has two pieces in our collection, one hanging in the bar and the other in our library room. When at the hotel Harry can often be found in either location, ensuring those around him know who the artist is!
We hope this gives you a flavour of the art and artists on show at The Trefeddian and prompts you to take a closer look at our collection during your next visit!