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.

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:

The Evolution of Man 1965-2014, Acid Rock from Wales

TheMan Sticker 1Swansea Museum will be hosting a unique exhibition of memorabilia and photographs covering the legendary band Man and their offshoots. It is the first of its kind in their half-century of music-making.

The exhibition showcases the collection of John Bannon, a long-time fan who has spent over 30 years amassing everything from stickers and badges through photos and T-shirts to posters, set lists and flyers. These trace Man’s story from the Langland Hotel in Swansea where they recorded their first album ‘Revelation’ in 1969 to the world’s great rock stages – San Francisco’s Winterland, the Camden Roundhouse and the Albert Hall to name but three.

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A Child’s Christmas in Wales exhibition, now open!


A Child’s Christmas in Wales– opens Friday, 14 November

Dylan Thomas, Swansea’s most famous son, captured perfectly his memories of childhood Christmases in his much-loved “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”. His mastery of language cleverly stimulates our emotions and his eye for detail stirs deep memories of our own experiences. Working with Jeff Towns and Swansea artist John Upton we aim to recreate memories of Christmas past.  Displaying paintings inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas and cabinets full of vintage and antique Father Christmas figures, bisque cake decorations and a selection of large, pressed cardboard standees. Included in the exhibition, some examples of scarce Victorian and Edwardian Christmas ceramics.

Rare editions of A Child’s Christmas in Wales from as far afield as America also form part of the exhibition, as well as audio recordings of the famous work and some of John’s paintings that were inspired by it.

To view more exhibition images, click here.

Boxing The Chimera

Penny Hallas. Collage.

Penny Hallas. Collage.

Boxing the Chimera

chimera… 1. a mythical beast. 2. a fancy or dream; an imagining.

 An exhibition of imaginative responses to the contents of three South Wales museums, including the Swansea Museum Collections Centre.

In these drawings, artist Penny Hallas celebrates the beauty and variety of objects on display, explores their relation to community and place, and sends them spinning off in new – often fantastical – directions.

This work represents developing ideas for Boxing the Chimera, an ongoing Arts Council Wales funded research and development project.

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Boxes are both things in themselves and perhaps repositories of an interior world of artefacts, materials, sounds, social processes and so on, but also of the unexpected (which may include emptiness of course).

A museum is similarly a container in which a nation, a people, a locality reveals and conceals itself, creating a kind of chimerical patchwork identity.

Brief biography

Originally from Yorkshire, Penny Hallas has lived and worked in Wales for much of her life. Firmly based on drawing, her work also includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and film. She has exhibited widely as well as participating in arts events and projects based in the landscape around her Powys home and studio. Ideas relating to her work as an art therapist underpin themes in her artwork – principally a curiosity about and fascination with the way our imagination and the material world interact.


On Display in November and December at Swansea Museum Collections Center (open every Wednesday) . Please ring for appointment to view at other times. 01792 467282

Hidden Now Heard – Volunteer to design the exhibition

Mencap – Hidden Now HeardHiddenNowHeardLogo

Are you interested in museum exhibitions and / or learning disability history? Hidden Now Heard’s Hensol exhibition at Swansea Museum will be based on information collected from people who used to live and work in Hensol Hospital – a long-stay hospital for people with a learning disability.Mencap’s brand new Hidden Now Heard project is collecting the stories of 80 people connected to 6 former long-stay hospital sites across Wales. This will culminate in a temporary exhibition at various museums local to the 6 former long-stay hospital sites, giving us the opportunity to reach out to people who wouldn’t normally come across this information. This will to enable us to help put learning disability history issues at the forefront of people’s minds.Stay tuned for more information! You can follow their facebook page for more information.They are also looking for volunteers to help them design the exhibition. You’ll be helping to design a Hensol exhibition at Swansea Museum beginning on the 13th October.Hidden Now Heard are looking for creative people to help design their exhibition at Swansea Museum based on information collected from people who used to live and work in Hensol Hospital – a long-stay hospital for people with a learning disability.For more information on volunteering please click here

Swansea Pottery – A Celebration.

aboard - Swansea Pottery


2014 sees both the 250th anniversary of the beginning of industrialised potting in Swansea, and the 200th anniversary of the production of porcelain in Swansea.

While there had been potting in and around Swansea prior to 1764, at the Burrows and on the Gower, July 31st of that year saw the ground of the old copper works on the Strand leased by burgess to William Coles. Coles was a Quaker Ironmaster from Neath, who undertook to “erect a manufactory for the production of earthenware and stoneware”.

There had been experiments to produce porcelain in Swansea prior to 1814. However, it was the arrival of William Billingsley and Samuel Walker from Nantgarw, in October 1914, and the construction of a new porcelain kiln, which saw the beginning of “Swansea Porcelain” production.

This exhibition showcases the variety of wares produced in Swansea between 1764 and 1814.

The subject of ceramic production in Swansea is an enormous subject; much has been written before this exhibition, and I am sure, will be in the future.

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday 19th September in The Long Gallery.

Snippets of WW1

WW1 People

Copyright Swansea Museum

Have you visited our WW1 exhibition yet? Swansea and the Great War focuses on the stories of several Swansea individuals who were involved in the Great War. As well as the stories of the men who went to fight the exhibition will also reveal the struggles faced by women who were left behind. It will look at their contribution to the war effort and we will also explore the stories of those who conscientiously objected. 

Here’s a video from our opening night

Copyright Swansea Museum

Copyright Swansea Museum

Swansea and the Great War 1914 – 1918.

Swansea and the Great War exhibition opening  this Friday, on 25 July, until 18 January 2015 in Gallery One. 

The 28th July 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of one of the most catastrophic wars in European history.

Over 60 million people were mobilised for the armed forces alone. Young men signed up to serve in their thousands from all over Britain including, of course, Swansea and South Wales.

Many of those who signed up never came home and those who did were often greatly affected by the events they witnessed.

Great War Loughor

The exhibition will focus on the stories of several Swansea individuals who were involved in the Great War. As well as the stories of the men who went to fight the exhibition will also reveal the struggles faced by women who were left behind. It will look at their contribution to the war effort and we will also explore the stories of those who conscientiously objected.

Medieval Swansea game sneak peek

Here’s a sneak peak of the Medieval Swansea game that they are launching very soon! We’re really excited about this project. If you’d like to register to any of the events then please give us a call on 01792 653 763.

For more information, please visit Medieval Swansea.

Medieval Game