National Library of Wales

Kyffin Williams Archive

Reference code(s): GB 0210 KYFFINW

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Kyffin Williams Archive

Short title: Williams, Kyffin, archive

Dates of creation: 1716-[2008]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.537 cubic metres (53 boxes, 6 outsize wallets and boxes); 23 photo albums

Name of creator(s): Sir Kyffin Williams


Administrative and biographical history: Kyffin Williams, artist, was born in Llangefni, Anglesey, 9 May 1918. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and articled to the land agents, Yale and Hardcastle, Pwllheli, 1936-1939. He served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers from 1937 to 1941, but on failing an army medical examination because of his epilepsy he was advised to take up art by his doctor. Hence in 1941 he entered the Slade School of Fine Art, and from 1944 to 1973 was Senior Art Master at Highgate School in London. In 1968 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to record the Welsh community in Patagonia. He was elected President of the Royal Cambrian Academy from 1969 to 1976 and again from 1992; an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1970, and a Royal Academician in 1974. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the University Colleges of Swansea (1989), Bangor (1991) and Aberystwyth (1992). In 1973 he was made an Honorary MA and in 1993 an Honorary Doctor of Letters of the University of Wales. Other honours bestowed on him were the OBE (1982), the Cymmrodorion Medal (1991), and a KBE (2000). Exhibitions of his work have been held at the following London Galleries: Colnaghi's, the Leicester Galleries, Thackeray Gallery; also the Howard Roberts and Albany Galleries, Cardiff; Tegfryn Gallery, Menai Bridge; and other provincial venues. His work is found in the collections of the Arts Council of Great Britain, National Museum of Wales, National Library of Wales, Welsh Arts Council, Royal Academy, Contemporary Art Society, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, art galleries of Newport, Swansea, Hereford, Coventry, the Chantrey Bequest and very many private collections. A major retrospective exhibition was staged at the National Museum of Wales in 1987. Kyffin Williams's autobiography, Across the Straits, was published in 1973, and his second autobiographical volume, A wider sky, in 1991. Other works include Boyo Ballads (1995), Portraits (1996), The land and the sea (1998), Drawings (2001), Cutting images (2002), and Gwladfa Kyffin / Kyffin in Patagonia (2004). Since 1974 he lived and worked at Pwllfanogl on the edge of the Menai Straits below Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, Anglesey. He died in September 2006.


Scope and content: Papers of Sir Kyffin Williams, 1716-[2008], including correspondence, 1923-2006; diaries and journals, 1939-2006; catalogues of, and papers regarding, solo and group exhibitions, 1950-2006; drafts of books and articles by Kyffin Williams, [?1965]-[?2004]; works about him, 1953-[2008]; financial papers, 1939-2005; personal papers, 1931-2006; together with papers relating to various family members, 1716-2006, and papers accumulated by the artist, 1796-2007. Kyffin Williams photographs include personal and professional, family, Welsh views, artworks and views abroad, most notably Patagonia.


Language/script: English mainly; some Welsh

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW in four groups: professional and personal papers, family papers, accumulated papers and photographs.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets. Following legal advice, users who wish to consult the journals of Kyffin Williams will be required to sign a document in the Library in the presence of a witness. In order to view the journals, a written request should be directed to the Director of the Collections Department at the National Library of Wales. A minimum of two weeks notice should be allowed between the date of sending the request and the date when the user can sign the document and access the journals.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed online.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: Printed material has been transferred to Bangor University, and duplicate printed items have been transferred to Oriel Ynys Môn. Some information has been redacted under exemption s40, Freedom of Information Act 2000: see file level description.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Sir Kyffin Williams between 1985 and 2006.


Related units of description: Paintings and drawings by Kyffin Williams are held at NLW.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Siân Bowyer and William Troughton. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Across the Straits; A wider sky; items within the Kyffin Williams archive.

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; LCSH; LCTGM; and GMGPC

Date(s) of description: December 2009.



Artists | Wales

Williams, Kyffin, | 1918-2006 | Archives

Personal names

Williams, Kyffin, 1918-2006

Corporate names