Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Art in Wales
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Research Project  (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Essay  (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Research Project  (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a sound grasp of the history of art in Wales informed by a sociological, theological, political, and cultural perspectives.

2. Discuss the ways in which in Wales was linked to the broader history of the Western European tradition and the contributions made by key exponents.

3. Assess writings on art in Wales and their role in the formation of such concepts as Welsh art and Welsh art history.

4. Undertake original research and primary-source analysis at the School of Art Museum and National Library of Wales.

Brief description

For much of the twentieth century, Wales – often seen as the land of poets and choristers – was deemed to lack a visual tradition. It did not have an art history. The history of Welsh artists would, wrote David Bell in 1957, amount to a ‘play with a few stars but without cast or script’. Yet since the 1980s public institutions, curators and academics have contested the notion that Wales is without artistic tradition. Welsh artists, they argued, had for decades suffered from comparison with their English or European counterparts instead of valued for their own merits and in the Welsh context. A paucity of information and want of critical attention saw Welsh artists marginalised or excluded from our art histories. Today, Wales’ artistic heritage is being studied, displayed and celebrated. As side-lined groups, individuals and artworks are recovered, so is the country’s rich and diverse art history uncovered.
This module examines the practice, patronage, study and display of art in Wales since the 18th century. It deals with visual culture of Wales as well as debates surrounding tradition and the perceived Welshness of Welsh art. It focusses on emergent artistic cultures in light of the historical, political, social and religious history of Wales with reference to the revivals of national consciousness. Writing on art in Wales is examined in relation to late nineteenth-century as well as contemporary notions of Welsh art and art and nationality. Welsh artists working in Wales and beyond, as well as immigrant artists working in Wales, are identified as exemplars of either a unique contribution to, or general trends in art in Wales. Artworks, historical literature and a growing body of contemporary research are brought together to present both a general overview as well as specialised insights.
Taught by a team who have published widely in this field, the module encourages students to engage in primary research as well as artefact and textual analysis using the collections of the School of Art Museum and National Library of Wales.


1. ​Culture and Society in 18th- and 19th-century Wales. L
2. Patronage: Collecting for Self and Nation. L
3. Making the Wilderness Smile: Thomas Johnes and Hafod. L
4. Exploring Research Topics: Behind the Scenes at the National Library of Wales. S
5. Art and Industry: the South Wales Landscape in the late 18th and 19th Centuries. L
6. Speculations on the Ideal Welsh Art: Christopher Williams ‘an artist and nothing else’. S
7. Research in Action: Guest Speaker. L
8. Wales, its Landscapes and a National Identity. L
9.Valleys of Vision: Evan Walters, Vincent Evans, Josef Herman and George Chapman’s Rhondda. S
10. Art, Mining and Religion: Nicholas Evans and Miner-Artists in Wales. L
11. International Modernism: Emigre artists, the 56 Group Wales, Arts Council Wales and Artes Mundi. L

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Articulating ideas through seminar discussions. Academic writing skills in the essay and project.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent study through seminar assignment research and preparation. Manage time to prepare for classes and submit assignments to deadline.
Information Technology Information retrieval from various academic research portals and online museum collection databases.
Personal Development and Career planning ​Emphasis on professional presentation of research and list of books cited and consulted using MLA documentation.
Problem solving In seminar preparation and discussion, essay research and writing. Artist, style and media identification. Essay research and writing. Analyze and interpret artworks and the achievements of their makers.
Research skills In seminar preparation, bibliography and essay research and writing.
Subject Specific Skills Analysis and interpretation of images. Handling and study of artworks from School of Art and National Library of Wales collections.
Team work n/a


This module is at CQFW Level 6