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Pencil drawing of William Addams Williams by James Flewitt Mullock

Art GalleryPosted by Communications Officer Sun, August 02, 2015 08:09:32

Pencil drawing of William Addams Williams by James Flewitt Mullock

This pencil sketch of Monmouthshire MP and lawyer - William Addams Williams was drawn at the Chartist trials by Newport artist - James Flewitt Mullock. This drawing has recently been purchased for Newport Museum by the Friends of Newport Museum and Art Gallery. James Flewitt Mullock was one of Newport's significant Victorian artist. Born in 1818, he was 21 years of age when the Chartist Uprising took place. During his life he faithfully recorded many important events on canvas and in print and many of his paintings are held by Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

This drawing was created when he was 21 years of age and attended the opening of the Chartist Trials in December 1839. The Newport Commission had been hearing cases against the Chartists, but closed on 6 December. Rather than wait for the Spring Assizes, it was decided to set up a special commission to hear the cases and on 19 November 1839 a special commission of ‘Oyer and Terminer’ (a Norman-French term meaning to hear and determine) was issued under the Great Seal of Britain and Ireland to inquire into the ‘High Treasons and Misprisons of Treason’ committed, within the County of Monmouth. A trial for treason was a rare event and there had not been such a trial since the 1820 Cato Street Conspiracy and consequently counsels for the prosecution and defence found it necessary to study the law. On 10 December at 10am the Special Commission opened at the Assizes in Monmouth.

A Grand Jury of twenty-three local influential men was appointed to set out the indictments and one of them was William Addams Williams of the Llangibby Castle estate. Another notable man was Lord Granville Somerset, the brother of the Duke of Beaufort who was the foreman of the Jury. John Etherington Welch Rolls of the Hendre and Octavious Swinnerton Morgan of the Friars Newport were also there and the latter was the fourth son of Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar Park. William Addams Williams was one of the MPs who were members of the Grand Jury. Joseph Bailey of Glanusk, Sir Benjamin Hall of Llanover and Reginald James Blewitt of Llantarnam Abbey were also members of the Jury and MPs. The Charter newspaper thought it was unfair that magistrates, who usually convicted men, were now acting as jurors. The Grand Jury found a ‘True Bill’ for High Treason against fourteen people and for lesser crimes against others. The Commission was then adjourned until 31 December, but meanwhile Sherriff Colthurst Bateman of Pertholey set about summoning a panel of 318 special assize court jurors from which the petty juries would be formed.

The Williams family acquired the Llangibby Castle estate following the purchase of the estate by Roger Williams of Usk in 1544-1545. The estate remained in the hands of the Williams family until the death of Sir John Williams without male issue in 1739 when his daughter Ellen inherited the estate. She married William Addams of Monmouth who took the additional surname of Williams.

For further reading see

J. R. Wilson, Art and Society in Newport: James Flewitt Mullock and the Victorian Achievement


Journal of the Gwent Local History Council: Chartist Anniversary Edition, available at Gwent Archives for £5.

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Sebastien Boyesen

Art GalleryPosted by Communications Officer Tue, July 21, 2015 13:34:16

Sebastien Boyesen now lives in the coastal village of Llangrannog in Ceredigion and has done so for a number of years. This allows us to claim him as a Welsh artist although he was born in Sussex in 1960. On Tuesday 13 October we have a talk by Sebastian entitled ‘The Works of Sebastien Boyesen’. Even if you do not know his name you will be familiar with his works of art especially the ‘Guardian’ the Six Bells Miners Memorial commissioned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Six Bells Colliery disaster. Sebastien Boyesen studied at Cambridge College of Art and Technology between 1976 and 1978 and at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design from 1978 to 1981. This was followed by a one year postgraduate course in Stage Design at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. In 1983 he won the Welsh Arts Council Young Artists Award. Between late 1987 and 1989 he was Sculptor for Heritage Projects in York, working on figurative museum exhibits.

Sebastien Boysen has a particular relevance to Newport. In 1991 the Merchant Navy Memorial that he created was unveiled in the city and shortly afterwards he took up the post of town sculptor for Newport Borough Council. Thus we have many examples of his works of art and perhaps FoMAG should organise a walk around the city encompassing his art. I am sure his talk to FonMAG in October would be enhanced by seeing the works of art in situ. Works he produced at this time include ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’ and ‘The Vision of St Gwynllyw’, also known as ‘The Bell Carrier’. There are also works in The Riverside.

The two sculptures with which we must all be familiar are 'Chartist Man' and the ‘Guardian’ Six Bells Miners Memorial. The sheer enormity of the sculptures takes your breath away.The Chartist figure stands on the roundabout by Chartist Bridge on the Sirhowy Enterprise Way. It shows a Chartist striding towards Newport. Sebastien Boyeson often creates steel open structures which allow the light to filter through creating different effects at different times of the day. They also create an ethereal yet permanent quality. With the 'Chartist Man' he used a mesh, but the 'Guardian' is created with steel bands.

The Six Bells Miner at Abertillery was designed to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of the Six Bells Colliery tragedy. The memorial cost £200,000 and is a statue of a miner constructed in steel standing on a high plinth. The name, age and occupation of each of the 45 victims surrounds the plinth. If you have not seen these sculptures I suggest you have a Sunday afternoon drive to see them. I took my 9 year old grand-daughter and she was amazed by the size of the miner and the beauty of the locality. The monument is located on the site of the former colliery which today has a stream and grassland with and abundance of wild flowers. The visit provoked a lot of questions about the area today and the area in the past.

The Six Bells Colliery disaster took place on 28th June 1960. It was caused by an ignition of gas known as firedamp at about 10.45am. 45 men were killed in the disaster.

ARTWORK to commemorate the Chartist March on Newport and their fight for democracy is set to take a prominent position at the new Friars Walk retail and leisure scheme in the city centre. Two original and striking art works have been created for the scheme by artist Sebastien Boyesen. Both pieces of art work were commissioned by Queensberry Real Estate, which are developing the £90m scheme, which is set to open to the public on November 12.

Please note that his talk to Fonmag has been postponed until next 2016

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More pictures of the GLan Usk Primary School Exhibition

Art GalleryPosted by Communications Officer Thu, July 16, 2015 08:26:29
Above you can see teacher Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths giving her speech while behind her, waiting in the wings, is Deputy Head Boy Kian Stringfellow and Councillor Debbie Wilcox. As you can see, a huge number of children and parents came to see the exhibition.

Thanks to committee member Matthew Harding for this video of the opening of the Exhibition

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Great excitement: The official opening of Glan Usk Primary School's art exhibition

Art GalleryPosted by Communications Officer Sun, July 12, 2015 07:57:46

There was great excitement at the official opening of Glan Usk Primary School's art exhibition which took place between 6-7pm on Tuesday 14th July. The exhibition comprises works from the gallery and museum recreated by children ranging in age from 5-11. Many thanks to the children, but also to Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths, one of their teachers and a committee member of FONMAG whose inspirational idea has become reality. An excellent example of art, culture and history coming alive within the community.

We arrived at 6pm to a sea of children, excitement bouncing of the walls as the children and their families made their way up to the Art Gallery. Once there they crowded into the exhibition space and there were cries of delight as they recognised their pictures. The comments on the walls were revealing and poignant. On the end wall was a screen which displayed the works of art as a slide show and children stood waiting for their picture to appear. Interesting in a era when a picture on a screen is more normal for our children than a picture on a wall.

Speeches were made by their teacher, Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths and the Deputy Head Boy, Kian Stringfellow - who spoke about the exhibition with great poise. He also created an exhibit and drew the Chagall bird. Another speaker was Cllr Debbie Wilcox. It was a wonderful occasion which will stay in my memory for a long time. Well done to Glan Usk Primary School, Newport Museum and Art Gallery and FoNMAG where the germ of the idea originated. We must remember that Newport Museum and Art Gallery staff were as ever in attendance. Thanks also to the front of house staff who helped to get things ready on the day and a special thanks to Sue, the cleaner, who worked on until 6pm to clean away the builders' dust from the stairs and foyers and made sure everything was as it should be.


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Glan Usk Primary School's Art Exhibition at Newport Art Gallery

Art GalleryPosted by Christabel Hutchings Thu, July 02, 2015 15:02:52

Glan Usk Primary School's Art Exhibition at Newport Art Gallery

The Glan Usk Primary School exhibition is showing at the Newport Art Gallery, and it looks terrific. It comprises works from the gallery and museum recreated by children ranging in age from 5-11. When I popped into the Art Gallery last week I found Tristram Booth putting up the art work display created by Glan Usk Primary School children. Many thanks to the children, but also to Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths, one of their teachers and a committee member of FONMAG whose inspirational idea has become reality. The video shows the official opening of the Exhibition.

Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths commented,
‘Very excited! Glan Usk Primary School’s work is on display alongside Harry Holland, Stanley Spencer, Shani Rhys James, to name a few. We have to say a massive thank you to Annette Wells and Tristram Booth, both of whom have worked extremely hard to put the exhibition together, and with so much enthusiasm. In the photographs you can see Tristram, from the Newport Museum & Art Gallery, putting together the exhibition created by the pupils of Glan Usk Primary School! An excellent example of art, culture and history coming alive within the community. FoNMAG have actively engaged with the community to boost not only footfall in the Museum and Art Gallery, but also to inspire the next generation to engage with Newport's art, culture and history. Most of the children who have their work exhibited had never been to Newport Museum and Art Gallery prior to this, and neither had their parents.’

As we know one of the reasons why schools have found it difficult to visit the Museum has been due to the lack of an area for coaches to disembark children safely. Hopefully when Friars Walk is completed this will be rectified and the museum will also be more visually prominent. Please support the museum by visiting whenever you can as the number of staff will soon be reduced and two of the staff, Annette Wells and Tristram Booth will soon be leaving, but they have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to bring this exhibition about. We want to thank them for all their past hard work and enthusiasm, and wish them well for the future. Of course FONMAG would never fill the roles of these talented and experienced people, but FONMAG will support in every feasible way. If you wish to help support the museum why not join FONMAG and find out how you can make a difference. Help us to ensure that such valuable exhibitions continue.

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