Free Travelling Exhibition to Focus on Continental European Perceptions of Wales

Posted on 22 June 2015
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A new free exhibition entitled EuroVisions: Wales through the Eyes of European Visitors, 1750–2015 will be open to the public at Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth on 11 July 2015. The exhibition is part of the AHRC-funded project European Travellers to Wales, 1750–2010 which is jointly undertaken by Bangor University, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and Swansea University.

The three-year project has already identified over 280 travel accounts in which visitors from the European mainland describe their journeys around Wales since the mid-eighteenth century. EuroVisions complements these accounts as it focuses on works of art that have been inspired by the landscape, sites of industry and the people of Wales.

Speaking about the exhibition, principal investigator of the project Professor Carol Tully, Bangor University, explained:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to bring our research to a wider audience and to show just how varied the European view of Wales has been over time.”

The exhibition will show a broad range of works by artists from Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland from the Romantic period up to the present. These pictures show Wales in all its many facets, ranging from idyllic landscapes to industrial centres and portraits of the people living in Wales. What makes the art on display so unique are the subjects that caught the travelling stranger’s eye. The objects displayed in this exhibition also give evidence of how travelling has changed over the past 250 years - heavy trunks that were formerly strapped to the roofs of post coaches can be seen side by side with lighter suitcases and rucksacks.

Rita Singer, Research Assistant for the project, organised the exhibition with generous support by Ceredigion Museum. Speaking about the collections on show she commented:

EuroVisions is a unique opportunity for museum visitors to see rarely displayed works of art from continental Europe that has been collected by various institutions here in Wales. It is probably the first and only time that people will have the chance to see a drawing of Dolgellau during the 1770s by a Swiss artist side by side a twentieth-century hospital scene by a painter from Belgium. The variety of styles, subjects and national backgrounds makes the exhibition so exciting.”

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum added:

“We are very excited to have on show such a diverse range of treasures and paintings for the EuroVisions exhibition – we have a visitor book from Snowdon from 1845 on loan from the National Library of Wales, sketches by the famous composer Mendelssohn Bartholdy from his tour of Wales in 1829, and work by Josef Herman and Martin Bloch to name a few. It is fascinating to discover more about the people who have travelled to Wales from Europe and their perspective on Wales.”

Speaking about the project and the lead up to the launch of EuroVisions, Professor Dafydd Johnston, Director of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies commented:

“Our collaboration with Bangor and Swansea has opened up a fascinating new research area, and the partnership with the National Library and Ceredigion Museum is a great opportunity to present our findings to the public here in Aberystwyth.”

EuroVisions is open to the public in Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, from 11 July to 27 September 2015, before travelling to Swansea Museum this autumn and Gwynedd Museum in Bangor in early summer next year.

For more information about the project, visit http://etw.bangor.ac.uk/eurovisions-wales-through-eyes-european-visitors-1750%E2%80%932015

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