Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

John Martin (1789-1854) titled ”The Bard”

John Martin (1789-1854) titled ”The Bard”

On Tuesday, July 26, several WSWNE members met at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT. We had also planned on visiting the Irish Hunger Museum in Hamden, CT but found out a few weeks earlier that it was closed this summer for renovations. Eight members met in the lobby of the Art Center, and we toured at our own leisure, immersed in the art, looking for Welsh artists and Welsh landscapes. One such painting was this one on the right, by Welsh artist Richard Wilson (1714-1782) depicting Dinas Bran, “View near Wynnstay, the seat of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, BT”.

Another painting, seen below, by John Martin (1789-1854) titled ”The Bard”. The description noted that English King Edward 1 “was said to have ordered the massacre of all the Welsh Bards. Following Thomas Gray’s treatment of the legend in his celebrated poem “The Bard: A Pinnacle Ode” (1757), John Martin shows the sole survivor clutching his hair while cursing the king and his army before hurling himself to his death from a rocky crag”. An Austrian poet in 1857 named Arany, wrote a preface to his own poem: “The historians doubt it, but it strongly stands in the legend that Edward I of England sent 500 Welsh bards to the stake after his victory over the Welsh (1277) to prevent them from arousing the country and destroying English rule by telling of the glorious past of their nation.”

View of Dinas Bran by Richard Wilson

Welsh artist Richard Wilson (1714-1782) depicting Dinas Bran, “View near Wynnstay, the seat of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, BT”

Elihu Yale, a benefactor of the Collegiate School in the Colony of Connecticut (founded 1701) which was renamed Yale College in his honor, was born in Boston, but returned to London with his parents at age three, where he was educated. His ancestry can be traced back to the family home of Llandegla, Denbighshire, Wales. Yale is the English spelling of the name Iâl. Elihu amassed a fortune working for the East India Company, returning to England in 1699. He spent much of his time at his father’s house “Plas Grono” near Wrexham. In 1781, Yale was asked for help in funding the College in Connecticut. Yale sent 417 books, a portrait of King George 1 and nine “bales of goods”. In gratitude, the school was renamed in his honor and it became Yale College. Elihu Yale is buried at St. Giles Church in Wrexham, Wales. There is also a Coleg Iâl (Yale College) in Wrexham, Denbighshire.

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