John Cyrlas Williams (1902-1965) celebrated in a rare exhibition of his extraordinary work at King Street Gallery
A rare exhibition of John Cyrlas Williams’ work, “John Cyrlas Williams – A Brief Flowering”, will take place in the Chate Room, King Street Gallery, Carmarthen from 4th – 30th August 2017. An opening event takes place on Friday 4th August from 6.30pm, when art historian Peter Lord will introduce the exhibition.
John Cyrlas Williams (1902-1965) was once tipped as one of Wales’ most promising young painters. The son of a collier, he was born into a Welsh mining community in the United States. His father went on to become a mine owner, and the family set up home in Porthcawl.
Williams painted his first pictures in 1918 and trained initially at the Newlyn School under Stanhope Forbes. Later he pursued his training in Paris. However, all Williams’ pictures were painted before he reached the age of 30. Subsequently, alcoholism and other personal problems curtailed the career of the painter whose work was described by Winifred Coombe-Tennant – his patron in the 1920s – quite simply as “the real thing”. Eventually he abandoned painting, spending the rest of his working life as a clerk.
Art historian Peter Lord, who curates this exhibition with King Street Gallery artist Peter Rossiter, first learnt about Williams while researching his biography of famous patron of the arts Winifred Coombe-Tennant. Then, in April 2009, Welsh painter Mike Jones told him he had found 150 paintings by Williams at a saleroom in Clydach following their discovery in a Porthcawl attic. Lord and Jones worked to keep as much of the work together as possible, purchasing a total of 60 paintings between them.
“These paintings are very, very good and they make up a fascinating piece of art history,” says Lord. “Williams’ story is a tragedy because he was enormously talented but he succumbed to alcoholism.”
Peter Rossiter said: “The vivacity of Williams’ work, revealed in this exhibition of his work, reinforces Winifred Coombe Tennant’s opinion that John Cyrlas Williams was an exceptional talent. We are delighted to be presenting such a significant exhibition at the Gallery – an exhibition which will reassert Williams’ importance in Wales’ art history.”
For more information visit: www.kingstreetgallery.co.uk