British 19th C, except portraits, Wales: Artists and Subjects 4 Is this seascape by Benjamin Williams Leader a view along Cardigan Bay?

Topic: Subject or sitter

Could this be a view south along Cardigan Bay from Towyn (Tywyn), Gwynedd, looking beyond the mouth of the river Mawddach at Barmouth?

No. 94 in the French Gallery's 1890/1891 Annual Winter Exhibition was 'On the Sands, Towyn'. The cluster of mountains at the left would be Cader Idris and its neighbours. Leader painted Cader Idris many times from its east.

Towyn had a railway station on the Cambrian line from 1863 and could have been reached easily from Birmingham and Paddington.

The collection has no further information on the location in this image and would be happy to receive suggestions on this.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Miles Cato,

The dunes look as much like those between Tywyn and Aberdyfi - in which case this would be the mouth of the Dyfi rather than the Mawddach. Cader would not be visible but I strongly suspect that the painter has arranged mountains to suit his composition rather than depicting directly from life.
Even if the dunes are actually those at Barmouth, Cader would not be visible from this vantage point looking south.

E Jones,

This painting has a twin in the Harris Museum in Preston, Lancashire.
It’s called ‘Cambria’s Coast’ dated 1889.

Although these painting are both dated two years apart It does seem evident that Leader has used the same source material i.e sketches for both. Some parts are identical some changed for aesthetic purposes. He has also used some artistic licence, with regards to immediate landscape and mountains.

I personally I see more of a similarity to the topography of the Barmouth area rather than Towyn
, but that is just through experience rather than any evidence.

Andrew Chamberlain,

Another possibility could be from Newborough Warren, looking south to Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula.

Please support your comments with evidence or arguments.

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