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Williams was one of the great Welsh artists of the twentieth-century, his paintings captured the majestic landscapes of his native land. The art of Sir Kyffin Williams captured the imagination of the Welsh public.

His dark, monumental landscapes of Snowdonia came to assume an iconic status and so too did the man, affectionately known simply as Kyffin. But, as a Royal Academician since 1974, his work was also familiar far beyond Wales and much sought after.

The North Wales of his upbringing, the mountains that he had roamed, first as a boy with his dog, later walking with the hounds, demanded to be drawn or painted and its farmland and the stone walls that defined his early world would define his drawings.

In 1968, Kyffin received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to record the Welsh community in Patagonia. That visit resulted in works of unusually vibrant colour; it also reinforced awareness of his roots. Painting fast and fluently, he was nevertheless fanatical about structure and form and his descriptions of the process of painting were coloured by the language of military engagement; he “did battle” with a picture and being “defeated” by it made him miserable.

The darkness implicit in so many of Kyffin’s mountain landscapes was a facet of his own make-up. He recognised in it the Celtic tendency to melancholy, but believed it to be exacerbated by circumstance, instinctively feeling that a certain despair and gloom were the logical sequel to his grand mal seizures. So the ostensibly calm exterior – army officer bearing, country gentleman tweed suits, aristocratic nose, luxuriant moustache – hid a more complex personality.

Throughout his career he was rewarded with a great many honours. He was a senior Royal Academician, and for many years he was President of the Royal Cambrian Academy. In 1982 he received an OBE for his services to the arts and in 2000, his 80th year, he was given a knighthood.

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