Completed Portraits: British 20th C, Wales: Artists and Subjects 21 Whose monogram is on this ‘Welsh School’ portrait of Dame Margaret Lloyd George?

Dame Margaret Lloyd George
Topic: Artist

The monogram and date (1916) can be found bottom right.

The attachments are a close-up photograph of the monogram from the collection, and a detail from Art UK’s image with the levels adjusted.

Group Leader: Melanie Polledri

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The artist was identified as Gwenny Griffiths (1867–1954).

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Peter Nahum,

Sorry, can't help you with this one - have checked my book and subsequent recordings and have no record.

Osmund Bullock,

This is arguably a slightly clearer tweak of the monogram - and in fact the one on the Art UK image is clearer still, but very small. It looks like it's CG / GC, or indeed CC / GG. Not, I think, a formally-trained artist, and pretty undistinguished; if amateur (s)he may be difficult to find, but there may be something in local newspapers.

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Mark Wilson,

It's almost too obvious to mention, and I'm sure the Collection must have considered this, but they also have portrait of David Lloyd George (the sitter's husband) of the same dimensions and also donated by the Earl of Dwyfor, their grandson, in the same year, 1992.

It's by Charles Goldsborough Anderson and signed in red. The capital A is of the rounded sort that could easily be mistaken for a G and of course monograms tend to combine or use ambiguity so a sign could stand for both. The picture is not dated but assigned c 1916 by the Collection, which seems plausible from the appearance of the sitter.

Now I can't find any examples of CGA using a monogram, never mind this one. Though his pictures aren't always signed in any way, when they are it tends to be at the top in red as with this one of DLG. But he might be someone to consider.

Incidentally both pictures (especially his) look like they might have been painted from press photographs and then possibly donated to the family.

S. Elin Jones,

I wonder whether this portrait could be the work of the artist Gwenny Griffiths.
Could it be a painting that was commissioned and exhibited at an exhibition and sale held at the Mendoza Galleries, Old Bond Street, London, in May of 1916?

Gwenny Griffiths was a Swansea born artist and portrait painter. She had initially trained in the Swansea School of Art before continuing her studies at the Slade School of Art and in Paris.

The sale was held with the intention of raising finances for the ‘National Fund for Welsh Troops’, for which Margaret Lloyd George was the serving committee chairman. Subscriptions, items and artwork from donors were instructed to be sent directly to Margaret Lloyd George, at 11 Downing Street.

Attached is a letter written by Margaret Lloyd George regarding the National Fund for Welsh Troops, as published in the Western Mail in December of 1915.
i) National Fund for Welsh Troops - 9 December 1915

“The art collection included portraits of Mrs. Lloyd George and Lord Justice Bankes by Miss Gwenny Griffiths, two landscapes by Lord Plymouth, paintings by Sir W. Goscombe John, Mr. Cuthbert Grundy president of the Royal Cambrian Academy, Mr. Christopher Williams, Mr Augustus John ….”
ii) Welsh News - Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury - 18 May, 1916

“Miss Griffiths undertook to accept commissions for portrait paintings for the benefit of the fund. She has completed four during the last six weeks. Perhaps the best of these is an exceedingly attractive painting of Mrs Lloyd George, chairman of the Welsh National Fund Committee, which Miss Griffiths completed after very few sittings. Altogether the collection numbers about thirty. Among the sketches are two scenes around Caswell Bay.”
iii) Miss Gwenny Griffiths gives an Exhibition - Western Mail - 19 May, 1916

I don’t feel that this portrait is typical of the style of Gwenny Griffiths as an artist, but it may be more reflective of the circumstances and conditions of which the painting was produced. It would have been painted for charity, alongside other commissions, within a very short period of time with limited sittings, limited source material which as a result also dictated a number of decisions made by the artist, with no time to refine.

I feel that on close comparison to the sketch of Annie Swynnerton, many similar basic habitual drawing elements can be seen.
iv) M. Lloyd George. Swynnerton

She appears to use a variety of ways to sign her paintings on ArtUK and online.

Gwenny Griffiths also died on December 22, 1953 not in 1954 as noted as her date of death on ArtUK.

v) For Welsh Soldiers - Western Mail - 12 May, 1916
vi) Mrs Lloyd-George’s Sale - The Leeds Mercury - 18 May, 1916

I couldn't work this out at first as GG, but presume the attached is roughly right - 2 x Gs intersecting at right angles in perspective.

Its not like Griffiths' 'G. G.' on her portrait of Octavia Howell (though that is presumably rather earlier)

...but the letter colour is the same and one can see how one form might have developed to the other.

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S. Elin Jones,

“Portrait of a Lady” was sold by Lawrence Fine Art Auctioneers, Crewkerne, in January 2023.

The work is a pastel and attributed to Gwenny Griffiths. The monogram on her left shoulder looks rather similar to that on the portrait of Dame Margaret Lloyd George, and sketch of the monogram by Pieter van der Merwe (as attached on his post of 2/8/22)

i) Gwenny Griffiths’ portraits
ii) Gwenny Griffiths monogram

Kieran Owens,

S. Elon Jones, that's as convincing as one needs. Well done.

Kieran Owens,

Oh dear, it like the AI has been trained to change Elin to Elon, as in Musk!

Kieran Owens,

Marion, I believe that S. Elin Jones has made a very convincing case, through the juxtaposed monogram signatures, for this being a work by Gwenny Griffiths. If there are not further suggestions, should this attribution now be adopted?

Jacinto Regalado,

I believe Marion is on leave and will not return until August 14.

Jacinto, this is true, but Marion will be working the odd days during this period, so it might be possible to advance before 14 August. She has asked I keep an eye on any discussions in case of image requests too. Regards, David

S. Elin Jones,

Below is a link to a 2021 update of a paper by Mari Beynon Owen presented to the Women's Archive Wales at a Conference in Aberystwyth 2017. The subject is Gwenny Griffiths.

Ms Owen has been researching the life of Gwenny Griffiths and mentions that she was given access to the family's private archive of paintings by descendants of the artists. She also points out four paintings by Gwenny Griffiths on ArtUK and would like to find more examples of her work.

*Page 1 - Image of a self-portrait.
*Page 6 - is a photograph of a monogram from an example of her work. Possibly chalk on paper, as her portrait of Annie L. Swinnerton.

This monogram is very much like the monogram in our discussion. 2021/MBO-Discovering-Gwenny-Griffiths-SAESNEG.pdf