British 20th C, except portraits, London: Artists and Subjects, Wales: Artists and Subjects 6 Was Kyffin Williams involved in the acquisition of this Julian Trevelyan painting for Anglesey?

Magnolias at Kew
Topic: Provenance

We would like to find out more about this work and if possible how it arrived in our collection on Anglesey.

The Julian Trevelyan painting is part of the old Anglesey collection which was started by the art committee of the Anglesey Rural Council back in the early 60s. Kyffin Williams, Charles Tunnicliffe and other artists were involved and the works were shown at various public buildings on Anglesey (Oriel Môn didn’t open until 1991). That particular collection was officially accessioned with us in 1998, hence ‘98’ in the acquisition number, although it was here from the start.

I have just discovered that Kyffin had purchased another painting from this collection, 'Men Carrying Corn' by Sheila Fell, in 1964. . It was the author of her forthcoming catalogue raisonne who discovered the information in the records of the Beaux Gallery in London.

Sadly there’s nothing on the back of our Trevelyan painting, and it looks like it’s been reframed at some point.

Kyffin Williams was based in London for over thirty years, and we have a sneaky suspicion that he was involved with the acquisition of works for Anglesey.

Oriel Môn, Entry reviewed by Art UK


On Monday I will ask Tania Adams, Contemporary Art Society Archivist if she could check they were not involved in the acquisition and presentation. Tania has helped Art UK fill hundreds of incomplete acquisition records. It appears not to be a Contemporary Art Society Wales purchase from what I can see from their useful online register.

Jacob Simon,

1. Contemporary Art Society
I presume the lack of an update indicates a lack of success.

2. Oriel Mon, holder of this work by Trevelyan and proposer of this discussion.
David identified the location of the Anglesey Rural Community Council records in the local archive. Both Oriel Mon and the archive are in Llangefni on Anglesey. Would it be too much to ask of Oriel Mon if they have time to pop along to the archive to consult the minute books and to report back?

3. Julian Trevelyan.
There is a new catalogue of his prints. Is there a publication on his paintings?

Oriel Môn,

We have looked at our local archive, and have gone through all we have here. No luck I'm afraid.

The Contemporary Art Society for Wales have supported Oriel Môn over the years, but alas not in this case.

Jacob, thank you for suggesting how we might make progress. Art UK has two copyright contacts for the artist, who might be able to help. The most recent book I can find is this 2018 Pallant House catalogue.

Oriel Mon, thank you for updating us.

Jacob Simon,

“Was Kyffin Williams involved in the acquisition of this Julian Trevelyan painting for Anglesey?”

1. On Julian Trevelyan, I checked Philip Trevelyan’s significant book, “Julian Trevelyan: Picture Language”, Lund Humphries, 2013. Julian lived by the Thames at Chiswick at the time of our painting, "Magnolias at Kew". He sailed on the river and often explored up to Isleworth or Kew. So while there is no mention of our painting in the book, we can see that he had the opportunity to paint such a work.

2. On the question behind this discussion, I doubt if “Art Detective” will be able to make progress. To my mind the answer, if there is one, lies on Anglesey, whether digging deeper in the collection or the archive.

Not for me to close this discussion but I ask if the time has come to do so.

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