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A presentation by Peter Lord and Rhian Davies will be The National Library of Wales’ contribution to the Hay Festival programme this year. On Wednesday 31 May they will look at visualizing Welsh music and musicians, which is the subject of their recent publication The Art of Music: Branding the Welsh Nation.

Once again this year, to accompany the presentation, an original painting from the National Art Collection at the Library will be exhibited during the event, namely Tad yr Arlunydd, Thomas Coslett Richards / The Artist’s Father, Thomas Coslett Richards by Ceri Richards, one of the 20th century’s most important artists.

Using images and music, Peter Lord and Rhian Davies will discuss the trope of Welsh musicality between the mid-16th century and the present, and analyze the development of the national brand of Wales and its political and social effects, particularly in relation to the idea of British identity

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales said:

“The Library is very proud to be part of this year's Hay Festival again for the second time. Ceri Richards is one of the most important Welsh artists of the 20th century and we are looking forward to the opportunity to share this treasure by him, which is in the Library's National Art Collection, with the Hay Festival audience.”

The painter Ceri Richards was closely involved with music.  He painted many pictures of musicians at work, and returned frequently to the keyboard as a formal element in his pictures. His intense engagement with music is unsurprising, given his family background. His father, Thomas Coslett Richards, had been greatly involved in choral music in chapel, and was a founder of the Dunvant Male Choir. Tom Richards ensured that his children were taught music,

In 1955, Ceri painted this superb portrait of his father, two years before his death, in which he returned to the elegant realist aesthetic of his earliest portraits. The picture movingly represents the contrast between the painter’s working-class Welsh origins and the cosmopolitan international art world into which he had moved.

For more information about the event and to book a ticket visit the Hay Festival website.


** Mae’r datganiad hwn hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg **

For more details and images, please contact: Rhodri ap Dyfrig, Head of Marketing and Audiences, National Library of Wales / 07855362206

About The Art of Music: Branding the Welsh Nation

The Art of Music: Branding the Welsh Nation has been written for a wide audience to enjoy. In Dylan Thomas' radio play, Under Milk Wood (1954), Reverend Eli Jenkins praised Polly Garter's singing with the words 'Praise the Lord! We are a musical nation'. Visual culture has been an essential part of creating and spreading this common national brand for a long time. The Art of Music describes the visualization of Welsh music and musicians in the context of the evolution of Welsh self-image, and its influence on external perceptions of Welshness within Britain and the wider world.

The Art of Music is published by Parthian Books, one of Wales’s leading publishers, who are celebrating thirty years of publishing in 2023 with events across the country including at the Hay Festival. The publishing director Dr Richard Lewis Davies commented:

“Peter Lord and Rhian Davies have combined their talents as writers and historians focusing on music and art to produce a remarkable synthesis of ideas in The Art of Music and the branding of our nation.”

About the National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales is a library for Wales and the world. Located in Aberystwyth, it is the home of the story of Wales.

Opened in 1907, the Library is the centre of research into the culture and heritage of Wales and the Celtic nations.
The purpose of the Library is to make our culture and heritage accessible for everyone to learn, research and enjoy.
We are a legal deposit library, which means we are entitled to a copy of every print publication in Britain and Ireland, but our collections also include the following

  • 7,000,000 feet of film
  • 250,000 hours of video
  • 6,000,000 books and newspapers
  • 40,000 manuscripts
  • 1,500,000 maps
  • 150,000 hours of sound
  • 950,000 photographs
  • 60,000 works of art
  • 1,900 cubic meters of archives

You can search the collections online. You will find further information along with a list of resources on our website