File NLW MS 24099D - Kyffin Williams letters to Ian Skidmore and Celia Lucas

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 24099D


Kyffin Williams letters to Ian Skidmore and Celia Lucas


  • 1991-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

11 ff.

Placed in melinex sleeves within ringed box at NLW.

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.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Rogers Jones Co.; Cardiff; Purchased at auction, lot 270; 10 September 2016; 99679542302419.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Eleven letters, 1991-2002, from Kyffin Williams, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, to his friends and near neighbours the broadcaster Ian Skidmore and his wife, the writer Celia Lucas, mainly offering thanks or congratulations, with most containing pen and ink self-portrait cartoons.
The correspondence includes four letters addressed to Celia Lucas (ff. 2-4, 10, the first two in French), three to Ian Skidmore (ff. 1, 9, 11) and two addressed to both (ff. 6, 8); together with a poem concerning the writer and critic A. A. Gill (f. 7) and a limerick addressed to Skidmore (f. 11). The cartoons portray Kyffin in a dunce cap (f. 1), as a Frenchman (f. 2 verso), as a 'naughty little boy' (f. 4 verso), celebrating (f. 5), with an ear trumpet (f. 6 verso), as [?'a fox-hunting man'] (f. 8), dancing with Ian Skidmore (f. 9) and waving a handkerchief (f. 10). There are also cartoons of A. A. Gill being grilled by Old Nick (f. 7) and Ian Skidmore waving a flag (f. 11).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically at NLW.

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 set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Kyffin Williams copyright can be found at (viewed June 2017).

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, French.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For letters of Ian Skidmore and Celia Lucas to Kyffin Williams see NLW, Kyffin Williams Archive A1/23/97, A1/26/39 and A7/6.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.

Alternative identifier(s)

Alma system control number


Access points

Subject access points

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Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

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


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

June 2017.




Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys M. Jones

Accession area

Related subjects

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 24099D