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It is no longer necessary to book a visit to our galleries. We are open Monday - Friday, 10am to 5pm. Closed Bank Holidays, Easter, Christmas (22/12/2023-03/01/2024) and New Year. Admission is free. 

City Stories Ffotograffau o Gaerdydd 1969-1977 | Photographs of Cardiff 1969-1977 by Pete Davis + Exhibition Opening & Artist Talk

20/11/2023 - 26/01/2024, Gallery 1 & 2

The photographs of Splott, where Pete Davis was brought up and went to school, were made at the time that the main employer in the area - the steelworks - was closing, and the area being pulled apart and 're-developed'. This was a densely populated, vibrant, working-class multicultural part of the city, not just in transition but about to disappear altogether. Conscious of the very major changes there and the upheaval to the many long-term residents and communities at the time, Davis would return on numerous occasions to record the street life and the gradual decay and eventual destruction of the urban landscape that he had regarded as home until the mid 1960’s.   

 As Davis also worked as an advertising and fashion photographer in the city centre at the time, he was able to observe the general city life day by day for several years that was, to a large extent, unchanged from its post war appearance and activities. Working every day in the wider central city surroundings, he was able to record the street life which he sensed at the time was itself soon to undergo a planned transformation. As such it would lose much of the older traditional retail infrastructure that gave cities their look and character and if not recorded, probably forgotten.   

Ideas and attitudes to documentary work alter as time progresses and reactions to images change as they are viewed in a different historical and social context from the ones in which they were created. With the passage of time, extra layers of interest are added as they are viewed by later generations for whom they may be regarded as historical documents to reveal and inform about past times and places. For the generations that experienced those environments at the time, they become a combination of nostalgia and revived and relived memories.   

 Supported by Found Gallery 

Artist talk and exhibition opening:

Wednesday, 6th December 2023   

Lunchtime talk with Pete Davis 1- 2 pm, Large lecture theatre 312   

Exhition Opening 5-7pm, Gallery 1 & 2 

All welcome 


Papercuts - Silent Auction to support Graduating Students

Tessa Sidey Gallery 22/11-6/12/2023

This silent auction has been made possible by the many contributions of unique paintings, drawings, etchings and photographs by practising artists and School of Art students. The guidelines were simple, to submit any media on any type of paper, no larger than A5. This scale is stocking filler size, or New York elevator size, and can fit into any room in any house. Each piece is anonymous and signed and dated on the back.  

Bids start at just £5 and are identified as lot numbers only. So why just stick with acquiring only one unique piece of art? 

To bid on works in the auction, email headed by the lot number with your highest bid (the lot number is on the bottom of each picture in the exhibition). Please include your mailing address and phone number to be contacted if you win. 

You can bid on as many pieces as you wish, as often as you like. All money raised will go directly towards books and materials for the third-year students to support their graduation exhibition. The auction ends on the 6th of December 2023 at 7pm with a celebration evening in the gallery starting at 5pm. 

You can find more information on the following website: 

Celebration Evening: 06/12/2023, 5pm - 7pm


Robert Sargent Austin RA PPRWS PPRE  

Prints in the School of Art Collection 

16/10 - 17/11/2023 & 11/12/2023 - 26/01/2024 

Robert Sargent Austin [1895-1973] famously disliked art theory or indeed any pretentiousness about art. For thirty years he taught printmaking at the Royal College of Art, telling his students ‘We can talk about art later.... Let’s find out first how to draw.’   

Austin’s own remarkable draughtsmanship was apparent early on in his career. He studied at the Royal College of Art under Frank Short (1857-1945), who described him as a ‘a poet on metal within line’. Austin won the prestigious Prix de Rome scholarship in 1922, studying at the British School at Rome for three years. During this time, he travelled to Tuscany and Umbria, often using the Italian cities as a backdrop for his etchings of street life. At this time, he was influenced by Renaissance artists, including Andrea Mantegna (1430/1-1506), Giulio Campagnola (c.1482-c.1518), Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and Martin Schongauer (d.1491). 

From 1924, he began to make more use of pure line engraving, a technique he initially adopted to enrich his etchings. His technical skills as an etcher and engraver, combined with his talent for drawing, made him a leading figure in British printmaking during the 1920s and 1930s. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. He sold his work through the Twenty-One Gallery in London and survived the collapse in the print market that began in 1929.  

During the Second World War, Austin worked as a war artist, illustrating the service of women especially. He also designed London Transport posters for the Ministry of Information. 

His commercial work included illustrating books and bookplates, including those written by his wife Ada May Harrison (1899-1958), whom he met in Italy. He also advised the Bank of England on the design of bank notes. 

He was a member of the Royal Watercolour Society, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and served as President for both. He was also a full member of the Royal Academy as an Engraver. By around 1951 he, had lost the use of his right thumb and made very few engravings afterwards. 

This exhibition also features works by some of his students and contemporaries at the Royal College of Art from the School of Art collection.