Showing posts from May, 2020

Art UK's Sculpture Project and Newport Musuem and Art Gallery

Art UK’s Sculpture project and Newport Museum and Art Gallery Art UK serves a valuable purpose and allows small galleries with limited space but important interesting works of art to allow the public to see the collections.  Newport Museum and Art Gallery was the pilot collection for Wales. The sculpture project coordinator for Wales was Andrew Deathe. The Sculpture project photographer was Rolant Dafis, an independent photographer with over 20 years’ experience. The UK has become the first country in the world to create a free-to-access online photographic showcase of its  publicly owned sculpture . The first records began appearing on Art UK in early 2019. Prior to the project, many of these works were without records, images or online access, and many public monuments are not fully recorded and are at risk. The three-year project focused on sculpture dating from the last 1,000 years, held in public collections and outdoor locations across the UK. The national sculpt

Josef Herman, 'Women in the Fields'

Women in the Fields Josef Herman   (1911-2000) Oil on canvas Newport Museum and Art Gallery I first became aware of Josef Herman while studying fine art at the University of Dundee in 2006. At the time, I was experimenting with ink, drawing industrial buildings when a lecturer suggested looking at Herman’s graphic works. Herman’s confident line, either in charcoal or ink displayed an immediacy to record while simultaneously expressing the artist’s internalised encounter with his subject. The works Herman made while living in the mining community at Yystradgynlais were of particular interest.  I first encountered Women in the Fields after a re-hang of the permanent collection at Newport Museum and Art Gallery. The work made an immediate impression, and it sounds strange, but one way I believe the effectiveness of a work of art can be measured is its potential to persist while your back is turned to it. Women in the Fields persisted through the exaggerate

A Visitor to Caerwent in 1786

       THE REVD SAMUEL SEYER,  A VISITOR TO CAERWENT IN 1786 An antique plan of Venta Silurum or Caerwent’ drawn by Thomas Morrice When the Bristol clergyman and schoolmaster Revd. Samuel Seyer visited Monmouthshire in 1786, he was ‘repeatedly assured’ at Chepstow ‘that there was nothing to see at Caerwent and that it was not even mentioned in the guidebook’. When he got there, he found, ‘a poor miserable village, containing the parish church, one large farmhouse, three alehouses, three shops and about a dozen mean houses within the walls and about half a dozen against the walls outside’. Despite this unpromising start, his account of the Roman town, his sketch map and detailed account of the Roman walls as they then existed, precede Coxe’s better known account and his excellent plan of Caerwent (above) by the surveyor Thomas Morrice by almost twenty years. Seyer saw a Roman mosaic which had been preserved under a protective shed and described Roman roads le

Newport's Railway Tunnels

Newport's Railway Tunnels        Newport : Hillfield tunnels viewed from the south                       cc-by-sa/2.0  -©  Jaggery  -                          The tunnel on the left opened in 1910. The tunnel on the right opened in 1850. In September 2017 Network Rail published a document entitled ‘Newport Old Tunnel Heritage Impact Statement’. It was in support of the planned works that were going to take place in the tunnels during the electrification of the railway line from London to Cardiff. There are two tunnels which have had various names but in the picture above they are called the Hillfield tunnels. They are also known and the ‘old’ and ‘new’ tunnels. The Grade II listed old tunnel was of concern during electrification but also there were a large number of buildings, 200 feet above, which were potentially at risk of damage during the proposed work. I had a particular interest in this as the tunnels run directly under my home,

The story of the Heinkel Bomber and the link to this picture

T he Story of the Heinkel Bomber and the link to this picture  It can be amazing how related items are deposited in Museums and Art Galleries separately and by people who did not know each other and how together they tell a story. In the painting 'Home Front' which Stanley Lewis referred to as a mural, he has added information about Newport and the Second World War. In 1939 during World War II he was a Fire Warden and was based in the college on night shifts. One night whilst on duty a Dornier came up the channel dropping sea mines in a row and one landed in Chepstow Road where Stanley lived and blew him off his feet. He was still in Newport when the Heinkel crashed into the Phillips family home on the night of 13th September 1940. It was the first enemy aeroplane to be brought down by an anti-craft barrage balloon in Britain.Tragically, two children in the house, Myrtle and Malcolm Phillips, were killed. (see post below) Stanley Lewis was commissioned to paint a p

V. E. Day - the 75th Anniversary 8th May 2020 - a personal view

VE Day - Victory in Europe Day, the 75th Anniversary, 8th May 2020 - a personal view There are many photographs which show how people in Britain celebrated VE Day. Winston Churchill addressed the crowds from the Ministry of Health building in Whitehall. The King and Queen came out onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to wave to the rejoicing people. There were to be many celebrations across Britain and, as well as civic official ceremonies, there were street parties and family celebrations. Life was to change after the war and just as we are faced with coming out of lock-down, so the British government had to reduce the wartime restrictions and controls and these could not be dropped instantly. After the war Winston Churchill and the Conservative Party lost the 1945 election. Clement Atlee's Labour government had  to find ways of gradually phasing out government controls. In 1951 Churchill was once again PM but food rationing did not finally end util 1954. One o

Stanley Lewis's painting 'Home Front' and the story of its discovery

Stanley Lewis's painting 'Home Front' and the story of its discovery Stanley Lewis 1905 – 2009 Home Front Stanley Lewis was born near Llanfrechfa near Newport and brought up on Whitehall Farm. As a young boy he was keen on sketching and he studied at the Newport School of Art from 1923 to 1926.  He was then awarded a place at the Royal College of Art where he studied from 1926 until 1930. In 1930 he won second prize in the Rome Scholarship Awards in Mural Painting, and later that year returned home to take up the post of Painting Master at Newport School of Art. Stanley began to exhibit annually from 1931 to 1961 in the Royal Academy Show and in 1937 his painting The Welsh Mole Catcher was voted the most popular picture. (Now in the Newport collection) The Mole Catcher It was whilst teaching in Newport that he met his wife Min and they married 2 nd August 1939. In1939 World War II was declared and he became a Fire Warden and was based in th

Where you can find some collections in Newport Museum and Art Gallery during the closure

Where you can find some collections in Newport Museum and Art Gallery during the closure Newport Museum and Art Gallery was founded in 1888 and now has a vast collection of items which you can access via the links below. Many items have been placed on People’s Collection Wales which Newport Museum and Art Gallery joined in 2011. 1,322 items have been uploaded and you can spend time ‘surfing’ these collections by following the links below. I have picked out a few that caught my attention but I could have included so many fascinating aspects of the collections. 1. J. H. Clark’s The Flora of Monmouthshire J H Clark was born in Gloucester in 1818 and set up in business as a printer in Usk in 1834. In 1868 he produced 'Sketches of Monmouthshire', one of the many guides he wrote and printed, with an appendix which he later reprinted as a pamphlet entitled, 'The Flora of Monmouthshire'. This was the first attempt to p
Welcome to the Blog of the Friends of Newport Museum and Art Gallery. We are aware that not everyone uses social media and so, although we have an active social media presence we have decided to produce a blog. We would like any members who feel inclined to write items for this blog. If you want to highlight a favourite exhbit we might be able to obtain a picture that you can use.  To make contact: email,  For the webpage see