Fonds GB 0210 KYFFINW - Kyffin Williams Archive

Journal : 1992,

Identity area

Reference code



Kyffin Williams Archive


  • 1716-[2008] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Extent: 0.537 cubic metres (53 boxes, 6 outsize wallets and boxes)
Extent: 23 photo albums.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Kyffin Williams, artist, was born in Llangefni, Anglesey, 9 May 1918. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and articled to the land agents, Yale and Hardcastle, Pwllheli, 1936-1939. He served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers from 1937 to 1941, but on failing an army medical examination because of his epilepsy he was advised to take up art by his doctor. Hence in 1941 he entered the Slade School of Fine Art, and from 1944 to 1973 was Senior Art Master at Highgate School in London. In 1968 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to record the Welsh community in Patagonia.

He was elected President of the Royal Cambrian Academy from 1969 to 1976 and again from 1992; an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1970, and a Royal Academician in 1974. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the University Colleges of Swansea (1989), Bangor (1991) and Aberystwyth (1992). In 1973 he was made an Honorary MA and in 1993 an Honorary Doctor of Letters of the University of Wales. Other honours bestowed on him were the OBE (1982), the Cymmrodorion Medal (1991), and a KBE (2000).

Exhibitions of his work have been held at the following London Galleries: Colnaghi's, the Leicester Galleries, Thackeray Gallery; also the Howard Roberts and Albany Galleries, Cardiff; Tegfryn Gallery, Menai Bridge; and other provincial venues.

His work is found in the collections of the Arts Council of Great Britain, National Museum of Wales, National Library of Wales, Welsh Arts Council, Royal Academy, Contemporary Art Society, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, art galleries of Newport, Swansea, Hereford, Coventry, the Chantrey Bequest and very many private collections. A major retrospective exhibition was staged at the National Museum of Wales in 1987.

Kyffin Williams's autobiography, Across the Straits, was published in 1973, and his second autobiographical volume, A Wider Sky, in 1991. Other works include Boyo Ballads (1995), Portraits (1996), The land and the sea (1998), Drawings (2001), Cutting images (2002), and Gwladfa Kyffin / Kyffin in Patagonia (2004). Since 1974 he lived and worked at Pwllfanogl on the edge of the Menai Straits below Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, Anglesey. He died in September 2006.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Sir Kyffin Williams; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; November 1985; A1985/152.

Sir Kyffin Williams; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; March 1996; A1996/33.

Sir Kyffin Williams; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; September 1999; A1999/107.

Sir Kyffin Williams; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; August 2000; A2000/52.

Sir Kyffin Williams per Paul Joyner, NLW; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; May 2004; 0200405301.

Sir Kyffin Williams per Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, NLW; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; September 2004; 0200410991.

Sir Kyffin Williams per Rian Evans; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Donation; December 2005; 0200600046.

Sir Kyffin Williams; Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; Bequest; September 2006

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Sir Kyffin Williams, 1716-[2008], including correspondence, 1923-2006; diaries and journals, 1939-2006; catalogues of, and papers regarding, solo and group exhibitions, 1950-2006; drafts of books and articles by Kyffin Williams, [?1965]-[?2004]; works about him, 1953-[2008]; financial papers, 1939-2005; personal papers, 1931-2006; together with papers relating to various family members, 1716-2006, and papers accumulated by the artist, 1796-2007.

Kyffin Williams photographs include personal and professional, family, Welsh views, artworks and views abroad, most notably Patagonia.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Printed material has been transferred to Bangor University, and duplicate printed items have been transferred to Oriel Ynys Môn. Some information has been redacted under exemption s40, Freedom of Information Act 2000: see file level description.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW in four groups: professional and personal papers, family papers, accumulated papers and photographs.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets. See also the special conditions regarding access to the journals (series A2)

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English mainly; some Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Paintings and drawings by Kyffin Williams are held at NLW.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.


Papers accumulated by Kyffin Williams's ancestors pre-date his birth, and items relating to the artist post-date his death.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; LCSH; LCTGM; and GMGPC


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

December 2009.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Across the Straits; A wider sky; items within the Kyffin Williams archive.

Archivist's note

Compiled by Siân Bowyer and William Troughton.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: Kyffin Williams Papers.