This book is about Welsh pictures painted between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries, and why they matter today. It mainly concerns how pictures are understood by the people who use them - patrons, museum curators, and the general public - rather than by the painters who paint them. It consists of a series of chapters on different aspects of painting, which are unified by a common theme. Individual chapters discuss an eighteenth-century painting, a nineteenth-century genre, a twentieth-century painter, how pictures are valued by museums and the art market, and how, since the 1980s, the Welsh art establishment has fought a reactionary battle against the New Art History movement. The chapters are unified by their concern with the question of how a tradition of art is created, and what effect a tradition has on how a nation sees itself - and is seen by others. The pictures and painters are discussed in the context of contemporary literature, and the social and political circumstances of their period. Comparisons are made with the experience of other cultures, notably the United States and Ireland.
Peter Lord is an established author and authority on Welsh art, and was research fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, 1996 - 2003. He currently holds a part-time research fellowship at Swansea University.