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Today, 6 October 2016, pupils at Ysgol Dolbadarn primary school, Llanberis were curators of a world famous masterpiece in a National Library of Wales project funded by the ScottishPower Foundation.

The prestigious painting of Dolbadarn Castle by Joseph Mallord William Turner - a centrepiece of the National Library’s important collection of art - was transported to Llanberis for the day, and exhibited at Ysgol Dolbadarn. This famous and precious painting was the focus of a series of workshops on landscapes delivered to pupils from Ysgol Dolbadarn and Ysgol Brynrefail secondary school by local artist and teacher, Dylan Roberts.

Unveiling the painting, Councillor Dyfrig Jones, a member of The National Library of Wales Board of Trustees:

“This painting is one of thousands of treasures in The National Library of Wales that can provide access to the culture, history and heritage of Wales for children and young people. This event today demonstrates how The National Library of Wales collections can stimulate creativity, and inspire young people to learn and nurture new skills.”

Pedr ap Llwyd, Director of Collections and Public Programmes at The National Library of Wales added:

“Our national art collections are key resources for supporting schools across Wales, particularly in those areas where children may not have opportunities to see great works of art. I am determined to ensure that the National Library's collections are fully exploited by schools to inspire and support learning and teaching.”

Pupils were able to work close-up with the painting and learn more about its history and context, and about the life of the artist, J. M. W. Turner.

The Turner oil painting was bought by the National Library of Wales in 1998. It depicts the moments when Owain Goch was captured by his brother Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd, before being imprisoned at Dolbadarn tower from 1255 until 1277.

Bethan Wyn Jones, Head Teacher at Ysgol Dolbadarn, said:

“This kind of partnership is fantastic for the school, and provides an opportunity to raise the pupils’ awareness about the work and collections of our National Library. Bringing an important masterpiece to the school is an exciting way of boosting the children’s enthusiasm and their desire to learn about art in Wales. Dolbadarn pupils will definitely benefit from this invaluable experience, and we look forward to visiting the National Library of Wales soon to view other national treasures.”

Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation said:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students of Dolbadarn primary school and Brynrefail secondary school, and we are delighted to be playing a role in making it happen. The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to supporting young people in local communities across the UK in the advancement of their education, so we are thrilled to be involved.”

Further Information

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Notes for Editors

Key partners

The National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales is the biggest library in Wales and serves as the nation's memory. As a legal deposit library it has the right to receive a free copy of everything published in Britain and Ireland. Around 4,000 new publications are collected every week that add to The National Library's collection of:

  • 6 million books and newspapers
  • 950,000 photographs
  • 60,000 works of art
  • 1.5 million maps
  • 7 million feet of film
  • 40,000 manuscripts
  • 250,000 hours of video
  • 1,900 cubic metres of archives

The National Library of Wales provides its services free to all Welsh citizens and it does not discriminate on the basis of ability or inability to pay. It welcomes children and young people to use its services, either by visiting the Library in Aberystwyth or accessing its resources and services on-line. The Library also delivers workshops in communities across the whole of Wales that meet the requirements of the curriculum in Wales as regards content and skills, and present the Library’s collections to young people, parents and teachers. This work is delivered in partnership with local authorities, education advisors, and individual organisations and schools with the aim of ensuring that as many children and young people in Wales as possible can benefit from the Library’s rich collections.

ScottishPower Foundation
The ScottishPower Foundation was established in 2013 to support charitable work throughout Britain. The Foundation provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the following purposes:

  • the advancement of education;
  • the advancement of environmental protection;
  • the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science;
  • the prevention or relief of poverty and the relief of those in need by reason of disability or other disadvantage;
  • the advancement of citizenship and community development.

Decisions to award funding by the ScottishPower Foundation are made independently of ScottishPower by an experienced Board of Trustees.

NLW Education Service
The NLW Education Service was established in 2002. Its main work is to:

  • Deliver a programme of educational activities of a high standard to promote The National Library of Wales and the national collection through the school curriculum.
  • Increase awareness among children and young people of the history, culture and heritage of Wales.
  • Facilitate access to information for learners and educators and assist them in making the most of our collections by interpreting information in the national collection.
  • Increase the Library’s presence, and awareness of the institution and its work, in various parts of Wales.
  • Assist NLW in delivering the five strategic aims set out in Knowledge for All: The strategy of the National Library of Wales, 2014-2017.
  • Produce high quality digital resources to assist with the delivery of the school curriculum in Wales, and publish these on Hwb.
  • Manage various projects that provide access to the collections to children, young people and adults.
  • Support the Welsh Government social inclusion and reducing inequality agendas by working in disadvantaged areas.

Since 2007 The National Library of Wales Education Service has been taking the Library’s collections to schools and communities throughout Wales as part of its outreach programme. These outreach projects are developed in partnership with local authorities, schools and other organisations and individually tailored to meet the needs of those users, as well as assisting them to deliver the required skills and content of the curriculum in Wales.

Ysgol Dolbadarn Primary School
Ysgol Gynradd Dolbadarn (YGD) is located in the village of Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon in Gwynedd, North Wales. It serves the rural area of Llanberis and Nant Peris. There are 156 on roll, and education is provided through the medium of Welsh to all pupils in line with Cyngor Gwynedd language policy. The school building dates back to 1938 and was formerly a secondary school.

The school is studying Castles as one of its core themes this year.

Ysgol Dolbadarn
Ffordd Capel Coch,
LL55 4SH

Ysgol Brynrefail secondary school
Ysgol Brynrefail is a medium sized rural community comprehensive school that serves Bethel, Cwm y Glo, Waunfawr, Deiniolen, Llanberis, Llanrug and Penisarwaun. At present 786 pupils attend this friendly and welcoming school. The school celebrated its centenary in September 2000.

Sixth form art students are studying the Welsh landscape as part of their A level course work.

Ysgol Brynrefail
LL55 4AD

Dolbadarn Castle by J.M.W.Turner
J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) is acknowledged as the most important landscape artist in the history of art in the British Isles. He enjoyed travelling to paint pictures and combining the landscape and views that he saw with the history and legends of the area. He travelled the length and breadth of Britain and Europe to observe and portray beautiful scenery. He had a special interest in the landscape and people of Wales, and the variety in the hills, mountains and valleys over a small area appealed to him greatly. He was also attracted to the romantic history of Wales and interested in her stories and legends.

Turner had read about Welsh history and was aware of the history of the Welsh Princes and the conquest of Wales. This becomes apparent in his painting of Dolbadarn Castle that depicts Owain Goch being imprisoned in the castle by soldiers loyal to his brother, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

Turner spent a long time preparing sketches and drawings of Dolbadarn Castle and obviously felt that this was an important theme that required much consideration. The picture held at the Library is an oil painting on a small wooden panel. Turner used this to prepare for a much larger painting on canvas that was presented to the Royal Academy in 1800. His oil painting of Dolbadarn Castle is one of the treasures of The National Library of Wales.