John Elwyn

John Elwyn 1916-1997


SINCE THE EIGHTEENTH CENTRY artists have found inspiration in the sublime mountains of Snowdonia or the romantic coastal scenery and picturesque industrial landscape of Wales.  Few have been drawn to the isolated farming communities in the west.  John Elwyn consistently drew upon his experience of rural life in his native south Cardiganshire, inspired by his feelings towards the Welsh landscape, its people, their language and long-established social traditions.  These have been the raw material of the Welsh bardic tradition from the medieval poets to Dylan Thomas whose work drew upon a nostalgic perception of the landscape experienced during a childhood in Wales.


Like Samuel Palmer at Shoreham, John Minton in Kent or Graham Sutherland in Pembrokeshire, John Elwyn found inspiration in a familiar environment.  He shared with these painters the ability to transcend exact topography to transform nature and convey the ‘spirit of place’. In his series of publications and exhibitions, Robert Meyrick examines the work and career of one of Wales’ most distinguished artists whose idealised and peaceful vision of the Welsh countryside reflects the quieter strain of Neo-Romanticism in British landscape painting.


Robert Meyrick John Elwyn (London: Scolar Press / Lund Humphries, 2000) 136pp, ISBN 0 7546 0062 9


Further publications:


Robert Meyrick, ’Famous Amongst the Barns: the Cardiganshire landscapes of John Elwyn’, The Journal of the Ceredigion Antiquarian Society Vol. 15, No. 2 (Aberystwyth: Ceredigion Antiquarian Society, 2002) pp.89-104, ISSN 0069 2263


Robert Meyrick, (designer) and preface, p.5, The Twelve, selected Biblical passages, poetry in English and Welsh, and a bilingual commentary on the apostles by Glyn Tegai Hughes to accompany twelve wood-engravings by John Elwyn (Newtown: Gregynog Press, 2000) 34pp,   ISBN 0 948714 85 9   MORE


Robert Meyrick, ‘John Elwyn: Chapel Days Remembered’ [obituary] The Guardian (London: 1 January 1998) p.14, ½ page


Robert Meyrick, ‘John Elwyn: artist who loved the countryside’ [obituary] Hampshire Chronicle (Winchester: December 1997)


Robert Meyrick, ‘John Elwyn’ [obituary] The Times (London: 6 December 1997) p. 25


Robert Meyrick, ‘John Elwyn’ [catalogue introduction] (Cardiff: Martin Tinney Gallery, 1997)


Robert Meyrick, John Elwyn: A Retrospective (Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 1996) 52pp,

ISBN 0 907158 96 X


Robert Meyrick, John Elwyn’s Life Class Portfolio 19361966 (Aberystwyth: School of Art Press, 1996) pp.1–6


Touring exhibitions, researched and curated by Robert Meyrick:


    John Elwyn: A Retrospective of Paintings 1936-1996

    National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 21 July – 26 October 1996


    John Elwyn’s Life Class 1936-1966

    School of Art Gallery and Museum, Aberystwyth, 20 July – 26 October 1996


    John Elwyn: Works on Paper 1947–1997

    Gregynog Festival Exhibition No.8, Newtown, 10 June 1997 – June 1998


    John Elwyn (1916–1997): A Studio Exhibition

    Bell Fine Art, Winchester, 19 – 27 November 1999


    John Elwyn (1916–1997): A Memorial Exhibition

    National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 13 November – 23 December 1999

    Carmarthen County Museum, 8 January – 26 February 2000

    Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, 24 March – 23 April 2000