The Art of Gordon Stuart at Swansea Museum

January 14th – February 11th 2016.

There are very few artists working in Wales who painted as many portraits of famous people as did Gordon Stuart. His prodigious output spanned over six decades. Yet there was so much more to his work than just portraiture as this small exhibition will reveal.

Gordon Thomas Stuart was born in Toronto in 1924 into a working class family.  His considerable talent was spotted early on and in 1934 he attended art classes in the city art gallery  where he won a prize of $100 for a drawing. On leaving school he worked in a graphic design company. In 1942 he joined the Canadian Army and came to Britain for the first time.

Gordon spent most of his military service in Italy where he was captivated by the landscape and the people. His artistic skills were used to draw sketches of enemy positions. When the war ended he returned to Canada with the intention of saving enough money to return to Italy. Back in Toronto he resumed his art studies and became assistant art editor of New Liberty magazine.

In 1952 he returned to Europe and spent an enjoyable year in Paris. When his money ran out he moved to London and combined work with part time study at St. Martin’s College. Finding it difficult to survive in London he decided to return to Canada after firstly visiting Carmarthen. In west Wales his fortunes picked up, he attended classes in the local art school met his future wife Mair and painted the last portrait of Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne in September 1953.

Following their marriage in 1955, Mair and Gordon moved to London. Gordon trained as a teacher and worked in several schools across the city.  They returned to Wales in 1975 when Gordon took up a part time lecturing post in Dyfed College of Art in Carmarthen.

After his retirement from the in 1986  he became a full-time painter. Although he still took portrait commissions , much of his subject matter was drawn from the landscape of west Wales, and still life studio compositions mainly of flowers. Gordon and Mair travelled extensively during this time to Canada and Europe. In 1992 a trip to the south of France was the inspiration for some of his most memorable works a series of paintings of Boule players. Gordon liked nothing more than capturing individuals in their day to day lives – children playing, people returning home, or shopping, or simply walking in the rain.

In 1995 Gordon was appointed artist in residence when Swansea hosted the Year of Literature. Over the course of the year a glittering array of authors, poets, artists, musicians, politicians came to the city. Gordon made hundreds of sketches and well over eighty portraits.

Gordon was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy summer exhibitions. He won a number of prizes for his paintings and five of his portraits have been bought by the National Portrait Gallery, London. His work is held in many public collections in Britain and Canada. Gordon became a Royal Cambrian Academician in 2001 and was honoured by Swansea University in 2014 for his contribution to art.

A new book, The Art of Gordon Stuart by Dylan Rees and Twm Gardner is launched at The Taliesin Arts Centre on Saturday 23rd January at 2pm.

Swansea and the Great War

01/01/2016 – 01/01/2017 – 12:00 am
Swansea Museum
Victoria Road, The Maritime Quarter
Source: Swansea Museum Events

Get your last minute Christmas gifts…

Pop in to see some of the unusual items for sale in our shop.
Swansea Museum is one of only a few local stockists of Quinnell candles. Our recent delivery of Christmas themed fragrances would make lovely presents so why not visit us and see our range of Christmas products available.

We will also be hosting our popular Christmas Craft Fair on 5th and 6th December with plenty of stalls and festive atmosphere.

Saving Treasures, Telling Stories – The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay

On Saturday, Glamorgan Young Archaeologist Club (YAC)  let us take over their monthly session to discover some of the fantastic artefacts that have been found over the years on Swansea Bay.

With help from staff from Swansea Museum, National Museum Wales, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and local detectorists we saw stone age axes, bronze age chisels, roman chariot fixings and medieval pilgrim badges to name but a few!

The young people got the chance to ask lots of questions, both to the archaeologists and to the finders about the objects and they got to handle and explore the finds too!

They plotted the finds on maps and recorded some of them in the style of a Portable Antiquities record.

YAC members are now going to put their minds to how best we can tell the stories of these objects in new displays for our Archaeology gallery in 2016.


‘Saving Treasures, Telling Stories – The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay’ is a HLF funded project co-ordinated by National Museum Wales, the Portable Antiquities Scheme and The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales. It will help Swansea Museum to acquire and safeguard items of portable heritage with special significance to Swansea Bay for the people of Swansea. It will also enable the museum to work with local communities to engage with and explore these treasures and to find out more about their Swansea Bay!


Keep up with the latest news on the project via #losttreasuresswanseabay on Twitter and keep checking this blog.

Free Film Screenings at Swansea Museum

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To compliment our ongoing Great War exhibition, the museum is hosting a season of classic war films…

The Blue Max – 4th Oct 1.30pm
The Trench – 1st Nov 1.30pm
Beneath Hill 60 – 29th Nov 1.30pm
Galipoli – 10th Jan 2016 1.30pm
Dr Zhivago – 7th Feb 2016 1pm
Lawrence of Arabia – 6th March 2016 1pm
The Red Baron – 3rd April 2016 1.30pm


All are FREE to attend.

Olga Sailing Days

OlgaInTheWindsWhether you’re new to sailing, want a celebration for family and friends, or simply want to discover what’s so great about sailing on a ship with such history, a day on board our pilot cutter, the Olga, will be an experience you’ll never forget. The Olga is a 56ft Pilot Cutter designed and built for speed in 1909 at John Bowdens’s boatyard in Porthleven and she worked out of the ports of South Wales, taking pilots out into the Bristol Channel to intercept inbound Sailing Barques and bring them to their home ports. The Olga was purchased for Swansea Museum’s maritime collection in 1984 and has in recent years undergone major restoration both above and below deck. Now fully MCA coded to carry passengers she is based on Swansea Museum’s pontoon in Swansea Marina from where we are able to offer sailing day excursions for small groups taking in the beauty of Swansea Bay and the Gower coastline. The Olga carries up to 8 passengers and a day’s sailing lasts an estimated 6-8 hours.

To find out more and book your sailing day on board the historic Olga contact:

Swansea Museum. 01792 653763

Educational resources – Eurovisions at Swansea Museum


The EuroVisions – European Travellers to Wales exhibition in Gallery One runs until 25th January 2016

The National Library of Wales have completed a comprehensive Ebook with activities relating to some of the artwork on display.

The resource is available for download either as interactive ebook or as PDF from HWB:

The worksheets in the exhibition are also freely available via our virtual exhibition website:

A European Traveller to Wales

Dr Jörg Bernig at Swansea Museum

7pm on 24th November 2016

The Euro Visions of Wales exhibition at Swansea Museum welcomes award-winning German writer Jorg Bernig

Jörg Bernig, award-winning German poet and novelist, will discuss how he has transformed his experiences travelling and living in Wales over some 25 years into poems, novels and short stories. His 2007 novel Neither High nor Low Tide (Weder Ebbe noch Flut) is partly set in Swansea, where he worked in the early 1990s and which he counts as the place which inspired him to begin writing. Jörg grew up in the former German Democratic Republic where he worked as a miner, farmhand, and conscripted soldier. After the collapse of the communist East German state, he taught in Wales and Scotland, studied for a number of university degrees in Germany, and published poetry, fiction, and history. Jörg Bernig now lives with his wife and two daughters near Dresden. In 2013 he was elected to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.


ALL WELCOME. The reading and discussion will be in English with brief German interludes.
In collaboration with Think German Wales and co-sponsored by the German Embassy and the AHRC.

Story Telling Performance by Sian Cornelius

As part of Museums at Night and the Welsh Museums Festival the museum is hosting a solo storytelling performance by Sian Cornelius followed by other stories of Welsh myths and legends.
From 6:30pm on Friday October 30th.

Free Entry, Suitable for ages 11 +.

Watch Sian talk about her work over on Vimeo…

Thousands of enthusiasts enjoy classic motorcycle show in Swansea

More than 2,000 enthusiasts flocked to a classic motorcycle show at Swansea Museum.

The event, held last Sunday outside the museum’s Tramshed building, had many different bikes on display.

Picking up the coveted ‘Best in Show’ prize was Alan Richards with his Ariel Red Hunter, a single-cylinder motorcycle with distinctive dark red petrol and oil tanks that was popular with grass track and trials riders.

Paul Giuffrida, from Swansea Museum, who attended the event said:

“The weekend’s classic motorbike show really proved to be popular, attracting thousands of people who enjoyed the display.

“It was nice to see so many people feeling nostalgic and remembering times when more of the bikes, now considered classics, graced the city’s roads.”

Among the attractions on the day was Swansea’s own competitive motorcyclist, Gordon Daniels, who shared his memories of winning the Manx GP in 1969; and Phil Landeg who won the best competition bike category with his Triumph Trident, the last major motorcycle developed by Triumph Engineering at Meriden, West Midlands.

On a final note, it’s worth remembering that events like this, and the many others we’ve got lined up at the museum, contributing to the Council’s Enjoy Swansea Bay programme, give people even more reasons to visit the city centre, helping to maintain its vitality.