Swansea Bay

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Wales Office, Gwydyr House, Whitehall

    This view of Swansea Bay in South Wales, painted in 1850, shows the Gower Peninsula, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1956. At the time this picture was made, the town was the most flourishing sea-port in Wales, a fashionable watering place and manufacturing base.

    The picture shows, on the hill to the right, the ruined castle at Oystermouth close to Mumbles Head. Its hall, main apartments and chapel, built in the late 13th century still stand today. This viewpoint was a popular one with artists including William Daniell, who admired the magnificent view over the Bay from Oystermouth Castle, describing it in his Voyage round Great Britain (1714-1525) as having ‘a plain, simple strength about it, which combined with its commanding situation, gives it an air of considerable majesty’. 

    To the left of the castle snuggling behind a slope are a small group of houses in Oystermouth, which Daniell described as ‘a neat little village, close to the sea, and so sheltered by the high land about it, as to receive little benefit from the sun except its light. There is a boarding-house here for strangers, who prefer rocks and seclusion to the noise and glare of Swansea, but the village is principally inhabited by fishermen. This part of the bay abounds with fish, and particularly with a very small kind of oyster, which is in high repute.’

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  • Details
    Swansea Bay
    Oil on canvas
    height: 71.50 cm, width: 107.50 cm
    Purchased from Appleby Bros, February 1973
    br: Butler 1850
    With Appleby's; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in February 1973, as by Richard Butler
    GAC number