National Library of Wales
R. L. Gapper Papers
Reference code(s): GB 0210 GAPPER
Title: R. L. Gapper Papers
Short title: Gapper, R. L., Papers
Dates of creation: 1843-1991
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 0.229 cubic metres (8 large boxes)
Name of creator(s): Robert Lambert Gapper
Administrative and biographical history: Robert Lambert Gapper was born at Llanaelhaearn, Caernarfonshire, in 1897. Originally an electrical engineer, he served on the Western Front during the First World War, worked in Rugby, and studied at Bangor. His artistic career began when he enrolled at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s, and after visiting Italy he became increasingly interested in sculpture and stonemasonry, preferring to work with the slate and granite of his native Snowdonia, as well as bronze and wood. The art for which he was best known typically comprised public works, such as memorials and gravestones, portrait busts, ecclesiastical furniture and ornaments, and eisteddfod regalia, medals, certificates and pavilions. All of R. L. Gapper's art work was produced to commission, and many of the projects he worked on are not represented in this archive. In 1934, R. L. Gapper was appointed assistant lecturer in Art at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and he eventually became Senior Lecturer in Art and Head of the Art Department, retiring in 1962. This is how he described his position in a CV written in 1968 (see A2/16), although he was nevertheless sometimes referred to as 'Professor' Gapper. R. L. Gapper often adjudicated in the Art and Craft section of the National Eisteddfod, and he was commissioned to undertake many projects for the Eisteddfod. His contribution to Welsh culture was recognised by election to the Board of Gorsedd y Beirdd relatively early in his career, and he was elected as a member of the Council of the National Eisteddfod when it was established in 1930; he also served as a member of both the Board and the Court. In addition, he contributed extensively to local eisteddfodau throughout his life, and served as a member of the Council of Urdd Gobaith Cymru. He died in 1984.
Scope and content: Papers, 1843-1991, of the artist R. L. Gapper, including correspondence, plans and other material relating to artistic commissions undertaken by him; records and correspondence accumulated through his work as an administrator and adjudicator with the National Eisteddfod, and also as a lecturer in the University of Wales; and personal papers, including diaries and correspondence. Many of R. L. Gapper's own letters remain in the archive, since he often made copies of the letters he sent.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/script: English, Welsh, Latin, French (for further details see appropriate level descriptions).
System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW into four groups: Art Projects; National Eisteddfod; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; and Personal Papers. R. L. Gapper's original arrangement was reasonably systematic, but it appears to have been revamped several times, and was not always rigorously adhered to. The results were occasionally somewhat haphazard. Wherever possible, R. L. Gapper's arrangement has been followed; where the original provenance is not clear, papers have been left in the context in which they were found. The archive was partially re-arranged by Mrs Catrin Daniel before transfer to NLW.
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.
Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.
Finding aids: The catalogue is available online.
Accruals: Accruals are not expected.
Archival history: Almost all of the papers in the archive were accumulated by R. L. Gapper, but a few of the family papers appear to have been added after his death, when the archive was kept and to some extent re-arranged by his family before being deposited at NLW.
Immediate source of acquisition: Mrs Catrin Daniel (one of R. L. Gapper's daughters); Bangor; Donation; September 2004
Related units of description: Many visual items relating to material in this archive were received in March 2004 (Acc. 0200403082) and September 2004, and have been catalogued separately as part of the Pictures Collection. Other papers relating to R. L. Gapper, mostly comprising correspondence, are also at NLW.
Archivist's note: Description compiled by David Moore. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: documents within the archive.
Rules or conventions: ANW guidelines conforming to AACR2 and NCA rules
Date(s) of description: December 2008