SIR KYFFIN WILLIAMS R.A 1918 – 2006
Kyffin was born in Anglesey in 1918. After leaving Shrewsbury School he was then articled to a firm of land agents in Pwllheli until 1938, when he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers, but was discharged in 1941 on account of his epilepsy. On the advice of a doctor he sought a new career in art attending the Slade School of Fine Art from 1941-1944.
Kyffin went on to spend many years teaching art part-time at Highgate School in London. He used the rest of each week to focus on his own painting, and while his native Wales was a significant source of subject matter throughout his career, he also made painting trips abroad, most notably to Patagonia in 1968 as a Winston Churchill Fellow. In 1973 he returned to his beloved Wales and settled back on Anglesey in a house overlooking the Menai Strait, which remained his home for the rest of his life.
The move consolidated Kyffin’s growing reputation as a painter of Wales and its people. He immersed himself in the community and landscape within which he lived, and spent day after day outdoors, painting.
Kyffin was without doubt the figurehead of contemporary Welsh art. He was widely viewed as the first artist to truly connect with the Welsh people – a tribute to the authenticity of his artistic vision – but his reputation extended far beyond his own country. Throughout his career he was rewarded with a great many honours. He was a senior Royal Academician, and for any years he was president of the Royal Cambrian Academy. In 1982 he received an OBE for his services to the arts and in 2000, his 80th year, he was given a knighthood.