One of the last known sketches sat for by Dylan Thomas has been gifted to a collection in Swansea. The sketch was drawn by Welsh-Canadian artist, Gordon Stuart and is the last known art drawn during the poet’s lifetime.
Dylan Thomas sat for the sketch after a chance meeting in Laugharne, where the poet’s famous boathouse and writing shed stand, and was drawn just before Thomas left for New York where he died in 1953.
Stuart gave the sketch to close friend Dr Wyn Gittins of Cross Hands, South Wales, who now lives in Canada, and it’s he who has donated the piece to Swansea Council’s Dylan Thomas Collection, flying into the city especially to present the sketch.
Although connected to Laugharne, Swansea is where Thomas was born and grew up and the city holds a substantial collection of his works, and memorabilia relating to the poet, which they feature at cultural venues across the city and beyond.
Stuart died in 1991, but during his life painted several high profile characters including US President Jimmy Carter, Welsh artist Sir Kyffin Willians, and former rugby international Cliff Morgan.
Those interested in learning more about Dylan Thomas can read a list of books about the author’s life and works here.
He certainly has a way with words and his sonnets remain some of his most popular work to date. Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published on the 20th of May in 1609, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe of London.
We have chosen a small selection of his works to share with you today…
With Illustrations by Russell T. Davies!
Books and Doctor Who go together like bread and jam. The Doctor is enthused by knowledge and learning and in his own words “Books, the best weapons in the world!” and so I’m pretty excited to hear the news that the first Doctor Who Poetry Collection is coming and will be published by BBC Books later this year. Read More
She was a prolific poet but fewer than 12 of her almost-1,800 poems were published during her life. There were conventional rules poets must follow at the time so much of her work was altered to fit this. Emily’s poems are unique for the era with their short lines, lack of titles, and use slant, or half, rhyme, as well as her unconventional use of punctuation and capitals. Her work often centres around dying, death, and immortality or imaginative natural imagery involving flowers, gardens, and paradise.
Here are ten of our favourite quotes from her works that inspire, provoke thought, or made us smile…
The story follows the inhabitants of the fictional small Welsh fishing village Llareggub (read that backwards and it describes precisely what happens in small villages…) including the nagging Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard; the old sea dog…um, cat, Captain Cat; two Mrs. Dai Breads; and others…
The first voice, or narrator, has been played by Dylan Thomas himself, Donald Houston, or recently by Michael Sheen, but the most popular First Voice was Richard Burton.
Inspired by Under Milk Wood, and using Burton’s reading of the verse, a musician going under the name of Isabella Heights has given it new life. Check how Burton’s voice is beautifully enhanced by his new musical setting…
Born in Holloway in North London, the penultimate of twenty-one children and the youngest to survive, Lear was already known for his art by aged 16 and was raised by his sister, 21 years his senior. Lear suffered from ill health all his life, by six he had suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, bronchitis and asthma. He also probably suffered from depression, bouts of melancholy he referred to as “The Morbids”. Read More
After a grammar school education, Rosen gained an English degree at Oxford university and worked for a while at the BBC as a graduate trainee. He presented W.A.L.R.U.S (Write And Learn, Read, Understand, Speak) for BBC Schools, in the 1970s, however he found the corporation a restrictive place to work for: “Their view of ‘educational’ was narrow. The machine had decided this was the direction to take. Your own creativity was down the spout.”
Since becoming a freelance writer and poet, Rosen has been a significant contributor to poetry, story, and verse for both children and adults. His work has touched a lot of lives, and inspired millions of children to write their own expressive and hilarious poetry.
Rosen has won multiple awards for his work, and was Children’s Laureate between 2007-2009. When his stint as laureate was over he commented in the Guardian newspaper: “Sometimes when I sit with children when they have the space to talk and write about things, I have the feeling that I am privileged to be the kind of person who is asked to be part of it”.