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22 Community Welsh costume myths debunked


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National Library masterpiece on tour

ON THURSDAY (Oct 6), pupils

at Ysgol Dolbadarn primary school, Llanberis, were curators of a world famous masterpiece in a National Library of Wales project funded by the Scottish Power Foundation. The prestigious painting of

THE NEW season of talks with

Lampeter Historical Society began in September when the guest speaker, Dr Michael Freeman, former Curator of Ceredigion Museum, was welcomed and introduced by Selwyn Walters, Chairman of the society. The theme of his talk was ‘The

Welsh Costume’, with on-screen photographs and images shown. Many believe today that the Welsh costume was designed by Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover, but contrary to this belief, Michael Freeman showed how she had exaggerated the everyday wear of former Welsh folk. However, it is true enough that Lady Llanover did insist that her friends and maidservants wear these costumes, and possibly popularised them to modern times as is seen on St David’s Day and Eisteddfodau. Many images seen today were

hand-drawn, with the artist tinting them to his own fancy. Shawls might have been red, but the cloaks would have been blue. The tall Welsh hat was something worn for special occasions, not everyday, and was based on the

squatter men’s hats worn by Welsh women. Examples of Bedcwns were shown, with slight variation from one part of the country to the other, particularly in their length. It is amazing how these items of clothing were cut and sewn together, probably by visiting seamstresses. Chemises were worn under the bedcwn, with a blue and black striped petticoat skirt, and apron covering the petticoat. Hardly any old stockings survive,

despite many local women being stocking-knitters. Usually, the stockings were footless, with a loop coming over the big-toe to keep in them in place. Shawls were either folded in a triangular fashion, or in half and worn over the shoulders. The big siôl fagu – or nursing shawl – was worn in such a way that the mother could carry baby around, and have both hands free to carry out her domestic duties. There was much discussion and

information shared at the end of the evening, and the Chairman thanked Michael Freeman for a very interesting evening. The next meeting will be on

Tuesday, October 18 at 7.30pm at the Old Hall of the University, when Nigel Nayling will be talking about the Borth excavations and the sunken forest. Croeso cynnes i bawb - all are welcome. There are just a few more days left

this season to visit Lampeter Museum, as it will close on the last Saturday of October. If you haven’t seen this year’s collections, do come along and have a look. Members of the public and businesses can become ‘friends’ of the museum by giving a minimum donation of £10. These donations help with the costs of running the museum, and the work undertaken in preparing new exhibits for the next season. All donations will be acknowledged on the Museum website through There will be another Valuation

Day held at the Museum on Thursday, October 20, between 10am and 3pm, when a specialist from Peter Francis & Co., Carmarthen, will be present to value antiques and collectables free of charge. There is no need to book an appointment - just go


Dolbadarn Castle by Joseph Mallord William Turner - a centrepiece of the National Library’s important collection of art - was transported to Llanberis for the day, and exhibited at Ysgol Dolbadarn. This famous and precious painting was the focus of a series of workshops on landscapes delivered to pupils from Ysgol Dolbadarn and Ysgol Brynrefail secondary school by local artist and teacher Dylan Roberts. Unveiling the painting, Cllr Dyfrig

Jones, a member of The National Library of Wales Board of Trustees, said: “This painting is one of thousands of treasures in The National Library of Wales that can provide access to the culture, history and heritage of Wales for children and young people. This event today demonstrates how The National Library of Wales collections can stimulate creativity, and inspire young people to learn and nurture new skills.” Pedr ap Llwyd, Director of

Collections and Public Programmes at The National Library of Wales, added: “Our national art collections are key resources for supporting schools across Wales, particularly in those areas where children may not have opportunities to see great works of art. I am determined to ensure that the National Library’s collections are fully exploited by schools to inspire

and support learning and teaching.” Pupils were able to work close-up

with the painting and learn more about its history and context, and about the life of the artist, J. M. W. Turner. The Turner oil painting was

bought by the National Library of Wales in 1998. It depicts the moments when Owain Goch was captured by his brother Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd, before being imprisoned at Dolbadarn tower from 1255 until 1277. Bethan Wyn Jones, Headteacher at

Ysgol Dolbadarn, said: “This kind of partnership is fantastic for the school, and provides an opportunity to raise the pupils’ awareness about the work and collections of our National Library. Bringing an important masterpiece to the school is an exciting way of boosting the children’s enthusiasm and their desire to learn about art in Wales. Dolbadarn pupils will definitely benefit from this invaluable experience, and we look forward to visiting the National Library of Wales soon to view other national treasures.” On behalf of the project sponsors,

Scottish Power Foundation, Roy Jones, Community Liaison Manager for England and Wales, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students of Dolbadarn primary school and Brynrefail secondary school, and we are delighted to be playing a role in making it happen. The Scottish Power Foundation is committed to supporting young people in local communities across the UK in the advancement of their education, so we are thrilled to be involved.”

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