John Kyffin Williams was born near Llangefni on Anglesey in 1918, although he spent his childhood in Chirk, Wrexham, where his father was a bank manager. After a brief spell spent working as a land agent, Kyffin enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers but was invalided out in 1941 as he suffered from epilepsy. He then enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art. In 1944 he became senior art master at a school in London, a post he held for 30 years, while continuing to make regular visits to North Wales to paint. He returned to Anglesey for good in 1974.
He’s been called ‘the most influential Welsh artist of the 20th century’, and a permanent exhibition of his work, Oriel Kyffin Williams, opened in his birthplace of Llangefni in 2008. He was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in 1982, a KBE in 1999, and died in 2006. Kyffin Williams painted prolifically, producing two paintings a week, and he felt a deep connection with his local area and its inhabitants that’s reflected in his work. “I never had to think what shall I paint. I don’t think how I should paint it. It is there and I am the vehicle for expressing it,” he once said, and the result of this organic style was dramatic, textured paintings that were popular during his lifetime and have become ever more so since. Although he’s best known for his Welsh landscapes, he painted other locations as well including a series of Patagonia, which are also sought after by collectors.
As with all artwork, the value of Kyffin Williams’ work varies a little according to the provenance, media, size and subject matter. At Peter Wilson’s, our in-house expert Stephen Sparrow has years of experience in assessing and valuing Kyffin Williams’ paintings, so do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a piece you own, or discuss a potential sale or valuation.