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We are grateful to Jon Pountney for his kind assistance when writing this catalogue note.


Cedric Morris travelled overseas extensively throughout his life, although it was Wales that always remained as a place of immense significance to him. Despite living in Suffolk for the majority of his life, he always felt a great affinity to the land of his birth and heritage; Morris was proud of his Welsh heritage, having been born to Welsh parents in Sketty, Swansea in 1889.

During the mid-1930s Morris rarely travelled abroad and any time outside of the studio was spent in his native Wales, painting landscape views and townscapes. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, industry in Britain fell by a third. South Wales was particularly hard hit, suffering factory closures and food shortages. With national morale at an all-time low, Morris, along with others, organised a touring exhibition of contemporary Welsh art, held at the National Library of Wales,...


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We are grateful to Jon Pountney for his kind assistance when writing this catalogue note.


Cedric Morris travelled overseas extensively throughout his life, although it was Wales that always remained as a place of immense significance to him. Despite living in Suffolk for the majority of his life, he always felt a great affinity to the land of his birth and heritage; Morris was proud of his Welsh heritage, having been born to Welsh parents in Sketty, Swansea in 1889.

During the mid-1930s Morris rarely travelled abroad and any time outside of the studio was spent in his native Wales, painting landscape views and townscapes. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, industry in Britain fell by a third. South Wales was particularly hard hit, suffering factory closures and food shortages. With national morale at an all-time low, Morris, along with others, organised a touring exhibition of contemporary Welsh art, held at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 1935. From then on, Morris played an active role in the encouragement of the Welsh art in London.[1]

This painting depicts a view from the Welsh village Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil. Dowlais came to prominence due to its iron and steelworks which, by the mid 19th century, was of vital economic importance to the area. Due to the Great Depression, steel production eventually ceased in 1936. The following year, Morris became involved with the Merthyr Tydfil Educational Settlement which was set up to provide education and welfare services to the local people.[2] In Dowlais, he engaged with an art centre for the unemployed at Gwernllwyn House – the Quaker settlement and art school, at which he stayed during the time he painted this landscape.

Unfortunately, the buildings here depicted by Morris have subsequently been demolished. The vantage point of this striking uphill view is from the area around Gwernllwyn House towards The Greyhound pub, the tall building depicted in yellow tones (also now demolished).

Like many of Morris’ landscapes, texture forms a dominant aspect of this work further heightened by the impasto application of paint. Morris simultaneously conveys the naturally wild landscape with the rigid geometry of the buildings. In this respect, his exploration of form, colour and texture reinforce his understanding of compositional harmony and the supreme fluidity through which he approached varying forms of subject matter.

[1] L. Hendra and L. Lewis., ‘Chronology’ in Cedric Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall (London: Philip Mould Ltd., 2018) p.26.

[2] P. Wakelin, Creating an art community (Cardiff: National Museum of Wales, 1999) p.61.

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500 Years of British Art