Portraits of Famous Welsh Writers: D. J. Williams

The art historian, Peter Lord, refers to the custom among the Victorian and Edwardian Welsh of decorating their homes with portraits of the hoelion mawr: literally, the ‘big nails’ of the Nonconformist movement whose preaching had earned them a kind of celebrity status. This series considers seminal portraits and photographs of some of the greatest Welsh writers of the Twentieth Century.

The writer and philosopher, D. J. Williams, whose memoir, Hen Dy Ffarm (The Old Farmhouse) seems a kindlier, more sociable masterpiece than Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, is commemorated by Ned Thomas for his devotion to the Christian religion and the culture of Wales, ignored and devalued by the British state, and for the gentleness and humility of his manner. A song by Dafydd Iwan remembers him as y wên na phyla amser (the smile that time cannot fade). This informal picture shows the same celebration of humanity and landscape that make his work ineradicable from the mind.

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