Recovering and exhibiting marginalized art

Interpreting ‘lost’ cultural capital for the benefit of society

The work of Professor Robert Meyrick from the School of Art hit the headlines in 2012 when he was invited to be among an international team of experts in Geneva that unveiled a 500 year old canvas that many believe to be Leonardo da Vinci’s earlier version of the Mona Lisa.

Formerly known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, the painting was ‘discovered’ in 1913 by art collector and dealer Hugh Blaker who bought the portrait from a Somerset nobleman. Meyrick is the world’s leading expert on Hugh Blaker who is best known in Wales as picture advisor to the Davies sisters of Gregynog.

Blaker is one of many significant yet overlooked artists and collectors to have captured Meyrick’s attention throughout his years studying British print history, the art history of Wales and collecting practices. Working with the artists or their heirs, Meyrick research recreates an artist’s career through neglected artworks and archival materials that languish in museum stores or family lofts.

He is considered the foremost expert on the artists about whom he writes which include George Chapman, John Elwyn, Edgar Holloway, Gwilym Prichard, Joseph Webb and Claudia Williams.

In recovering and exhibiting marginalized art, Meyrick’s research offers a new appreciation of important figures, historical practices and artefacts. Examples are Christopher Williams, a painter that Lloyd George described as “one of the most gifted artists Wales has produced”, and Sydney Lee RA, who along with Williams, did not gain lasting critical acclaim.

By sourcing, documenting, interpreting and displaying artworks and archival materials, Meyrick’s research raises awareness of once influential now forgotten 20th century British artists and collectors.

Professor Meyrick engages with the public through touring exhibitions, publications and public appearances. His research aims to enriche our cultural life as well as public understanding and appreciation of British print history and Welsh visual culture. His books and catalogues are the principal sources of reference for a wide range of beneficiaries, from curators and dealers to broadcasters and general audiences.

"[…] the engaging interpretation that he was uniquely able to provide, succeeded in bringing the full range of Lee’s achievements as a printmaker to the notice of more people than ever before"

Director of Collections, Royal Academy of Arts


Research Aims

  • Raise awareness and understanding of once influential though now forgotten 20th century British artists  
  • To inform the public of these artists through exhibitions, events, the press and media
  • To also inform the art world such as curators, dealers, private collectors and auction houses about these individuals
  • To create debate among students, the public and the art world about historical practices which derived from this work


Useful Links

Robert Meyrick - Staff Profile

Aberystwyth University's School of Art news pages

BBC Wales - Christopher Williams

Blog - Sydney Lee

Reuters - Hugh Blaker



Professor Robert Meyrick
School of Art
Aberystwyth University | +44 (0)1970 62 2460