Three Chairs in Memory of Three Welsh Writers
Thu 8 September 2016 / Written by Angharad Pearce Jones

In 2015, Literature Wales received a generous capital grant from Arts Council Wales to renovate and upgrade some of Tŷ Newydd’s rooms. As part of the work, we commissioned local artists to create new meaningful art installations for the site.

Here, Angharad Pearce Jones shares her thoughts and explains some of the ideas behind her three art pieces.


Tŷ Newydd Chairs – Angharad Pearce Jones

It was an absolute pleasure to create three chairs for the gardens at Tŷ Newydd, to remember three of our greatest litterateurs, R S Thomas, Kate Roberts and Iwan Llwyd. Knowing that the chairs will feed into the rich history of the site is a privilege, and with luck, visitors will feel that the all three writers continue to live through these pieces.


RS Thomas’ Chair

“It is this great absence that is like a presence”

R S Thomas’ Chair

RS Thomas’ Chair has a great presence, just like the poet and minister himself. It looks out across the Llŷn Peninsula, which inspired many of his written works. I kept the design very simplistic and minimal, to compliment the traditional Welsh ‘stick’ chairs. It echoes his simple and unsumptuous lifestyle.

I’ve created similar chairs in the past, for the Gorwelion Centre in Bala , but adding the green oak wooden back piece smooths the overall look of the chair, allowing it to be a sitting place for thinking and reflecting instead of something to climb. The super-size scale works well in the location and makes you feel very small in your surroundings.


Kate Roberts’ Bench

Kate Roberts' Bench
Kate Roberts’ Bench

This bench is a mix of simplicity and elegance: the characteristic slate fences of north Wales is very obvious along the back of the bench, whilst the classical element has been used on the legs and iron scrolls. The slates reflect the area where Kate Roberts grew up, that undoubtedly inspired many of her earlier work. They were recycled from traditional slate fences that had fallen down.

Though I never had the honour of meeting Kate Roberts, I did learn a lot about her during the planning process. I found that she was known for her elegance, thus the inspiration to combine two elements of her personality into one bench. We placed the bench by the entrance to the house, and it looks as if it has always been there.


Iwan Llwyd’s Bench

Iwan Llwyd's Bench
Iwan Llwyd’s Bench

I had the pleasure of this poet’s company on many occasions, and in a way, that made it more difficult to find a fitting design for the piece. Iwan was a very faithful friend to the visual arts and worked with many painters, artists and animators during his career.

The inspiration for the shape of the bench came from the lasting image I have of Iwan which is him and his familiar hat. He had a very sociable character but had another side to his personality too, and often liked his own company. Likewise, there are two main features to the bench: you can sit on your own on the wooden seat in the middle and move to the outer layer when more people join, making the bench much more sociable.

The decorative shapes on the bench were inspired by musical instruments and musical notation to celebrate his love of music as a guitarist with Geraint Løvgreen a’r Enw Da.


More pictures:

Sketch of Kate Roberts' Bench
Sketch of Kate Roberts’ Bench
Mainc iwan 2
Iwan Llwyd’s Bench


R S Thomas' Chair
R S Thomas’ Chair