A set of prints from valuable art works owned by famous sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies has returned to its former home at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown and Mid Wales.
The 23 prints of works by artists, including Rembrandt, Durer, Whistler and Augustus John, have been lent by the National Library of Wales and will be displayed on the refurbished third floor at Gregynog Hall together information on the collection’s history. The original works remain safely in the National Library.
The historic conference and event venue, which nestles in glorious parkland, already has a fine collection of art, some of which is on loan from the National Museum of Wales, where the main Davies Collection is housed.
To support its bid for museum accreditation, Gregynog Hall has installed a state of the art, museum quality, intruder alarm system together with UV filters on windows and environmental monitoring equipment, which measures temperature and humidity.
“We are very grateful for the support of the National Library of Wales and hope in the future to pursue further such loans,” said Karen Armstrong, Gregynog Hall’s director.
The Davies sisters, granddaughters of Victorian tycoon David Davies of Llandinam, were passionate collectors of art from around 1908 onwards. By 1924, they had amassed the largest collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in Britain.
Between 1951 and 1963, the sisters bequeathed 260 works to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, completely transforming its art collection with works such as famous Renoir's famous Blue Lady, Monet's Rouen Cathedral and Rodin's The Kiss.
“The debt owed to Margaret and Gwendoline Davies by all lovers of art in Wales is immense,” said Andrew Green, Librarian of the National Library of Wales. “The National Library of Wales has been one of the great beneficiaries of their generosity.
“The Library is very glad to help exhibit, for the enjoyment of the people of Wales and beyond, some of the collections we’ve been so fortunate to receive from their collection.”
Last November, a collectors’ presentation set - ‘An Artist’s Life in Wales’ - including a book based on the journals of late Welsh artist Jonah Jones during his year as Gregynog Arts Fellow in 1981-’82, was also presented to Gregynog Hall by his family.
The year Jonah spent at Gregynog Hall is described by his children as hugely important in his life, allowing him to reconnect with all the things he loved most.
The 750-acre Gregynog Estate, described by Welsh heritage guardian CADW as “one of the most important parks and gardens in Powys, dating from at least the 1500s”, is run by the University of Wales.