A collection of lithographs by the acclaimed Welsh artist Ceri Richards, inspired by the poems of Dylan Thomas, have gone on permanent display at Swansea University’s Great Hall.
Born in Dunvant in 1903, Ceri Richards is regarded as one of the most important British artists of the 20th century and was the most successful Welsh artist of the period. From the early 1930s, he explored surrealism and used recurring themes of light and darkness as metaphors for the human condition.
Among many sources of inspiration were the poems of Dylan Thomas. In 1943, inspired by these poems, Richards started making paintings and gouaches, culminating in a series of lithographs entitled, Twelve Lithographs for Six Poems by Dylan Thomas. They can, without doubt, be viewed as one of the highlights of his career.
The lithographs are a perfect complement to the poems, capturing their beauty, emotion, and depth. Ceri Richards' unique style provides a fresh perspective to the poems, creating a visual interpretation that is both compelling and thought-provoking.
Seventy sets of the lithographs were originally printed by the Curwen Studio, but over time the sets have mostly been split up, with prints sold separately.
Now, visitors will be able to view all twelve prints together at the University’s Great Hall on the Bay Campus for free.
Professor Elwen Evans KC, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “Ceri Richards' Twelve Lithographs for Six Poems by Dylan Thomas have been a beloved part of Swansea University's art collection for years, and we’re excited to share this collection with the wider public as it will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the intersection of poetry and art in a profound and moving way. This latest installation of art in the Great Hall adds to the cultural richness of the University and is a testament to our commitment to promoting art and culture in the community.”
The installation of lithographs is the latest in a long list of links the University has with Dylan Thomas. The annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has become one of the most prestigious international awards for young writers under 39, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. Alongside the Prize is the DylanED programme which introduces young people to the world of literature and encourages them to develop their own creative writing skills. The University’s Richard Burton Archives holds Thomas’ famous ‘lost’ fifth notebook and several rare proof copies of his work, and in 2021, a landmark project between Swansea University and the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, supported by the Dylan Thomas Trust, saw the launch of thousands of items relating to Dylan Thomas become available free online.
For further information on Swansea University's art collection, please email Mr Mark Heycock, Gallery Manager.