Amgueddfa Treftadaeth Swtan


John Kyffin Williams was born near Llangefni on the 9th of May, 1918. He spent his early years away from Anglesey after his father was made a bank manager at Chirk. The family later lived briefly in Beaumaris, Pentrefoelas and the Lleyn Peninsula. He attended Trearddur House School on Anglesey and Shrewsbury School.

During 1935-36 he was articled to a firm of land agents in Pwllheli.

In 1937 he enlisted into the 6th Battalion Welch Fusiliers (Territorial Army) and commissioned a Second Lieutenant and served in Northern Ireland and Wrexham. However he was invalided out of the army in 1941 due to epilepsy.

As a result, in 1941, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art which had relocated to Oxford during the war and in 1944 he became senior Art Master at Highgate School in London. He returned frequently to North Wales to paint mountains, the farms and the people.

In 1974, he left his teaching post and returned to Anglesey to paint full-time. Min-y-Don, Pwllfanogl on the Menai Straits became his home and studio for the rest of his life.

A first exhibition in London in 1948 was followed by regular exhibitions in many other galleries.

Kyffin Williams was a Royal Academician and received an OBE in 1982. He was named a Knight Commander of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List in 1999.

Always an avid supporter of Oriel Ynys Môn, he donated hundreds of paintings to the Oriel for the benefit of Anglesey people and visitors to the island. As well as recording the beauty that still remains, they provide a valuable record of aspects of life on Anglesey that has vanished over the years.

Sir Kyffin died on the 1st of September 2006, and is buried in St. Mary’s Parish Church, Llanfair-yng-Nghornwy where his great-grandfather served as a Rector during the nineteenth century. During his life, he became the best-loved Welsh artist of his generation.


The print and bellows were presented to Cyfeillion Swtan by our patron – Sir Kyffin Williams.

The Print : Sir Kyffin’s great-grandmother designed the original lithograph. Prints were sold to raise funds to place lifeboats around the Anglesey and North Wales coast, the first being in Cemlyn.

The Bellows : The lettering on the Bellows translates to say that the tile set in the centre came from a temple in Lucknow at the time of the Indian Mutiny.

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