Ar Drywydd Dic Aberdaron


Ar Drywydd Dic Aberdaron

Luned Emyr a'r hanesydd celf Peter Lord sydd ar drywydd y gweithiau celf niferus a ysbrydolwyd gan y crwydryn, Dic Aberdaron. Artworks inspired by Richard Robert Jones, aka Dic ...


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-GREETINGS

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-THEY CHAT

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-His real name

-was Richard Robert Jones.

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-He could speak over 30 languages.

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-He had a lot of hair, a beard...

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-..ragged clothes and an overcoat

-with books stuffed inside it.

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-They say he wore

-a horn around his neck...

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-..and carried a harp.

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-He was fat, with a lot of hair,

-a moustache and a beard.

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-Every time he bought a new book,

-he had to have a new pocket.

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-My great-great-uncle

-did a family tree.

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-He found out that Dic was related

-to my great-great-grandmother.

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-The linguist and eccentric, Richard

-Robert Jones, has gripped...

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-..the imagination of people

-of all ages, for almost 200 years.

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-Art historian, Peter Lord, has

-already been to Staffordshire...

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-..to find portraits of Dic.

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-His latest research indicates...

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-..that Dic Aberdaron made a big

-contribution to the world of art.

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-I was surprised to hear

-that there are more portraits...

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-..of Dic Aberdaron

-than any other Welshman.

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-It's strange that an old tramp

-attracted artists...

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-..more than any other

-Welsh man or woman.

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-Other figures have

-quite a large iconography...

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-..for example, Twm o'r Nant,

-Christmas Evans...

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-..Thomas Charles, of course.

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-As far as I can see, apart

-from perhaps David Lloyd George...

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-..no other Welshman

-has such a large iconography.

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-David Lloyd George's case

-was slightly different.

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-As an international figure...

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-..he attracted the attention of

-political cartoonists, for example.

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-But Dic Aberdaron certainly

-wins the competition.

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-There's a memorial plaque here.

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-It says, 'Nearby was Cae'r Eos,

-the home of Richard Robert Jones...

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-'..Dic Aberdaron, 1780 - 1843.'

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-The house stood

-in the middle of this field.

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-Unfortunately, it's gone now,

-but that's where it was.

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-According to contemporary evidence,

-Dic Aberdaron could speak...

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-..at least 14 languages fluently

-and had a good grasp of 20 more.

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-He left Aberdaron

-in his early twenties...

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-..and spent time improving

-his linguistic skills...

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-..in places like London,

-Dover and Liverpool.

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-But our journey to find

-portraits of Dic...

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-..begins at the National

-Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

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-Peter, there's plenty

-of original documentation here.

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-Yes, we've found

-a number of pictures...

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-..and examples of

-Dic Aberdaron's handwriting...

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-..indicating how the pictures

-developed over the years.

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-Some of the most interesting

-are these by William Roos...

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-..an artisan painter, originally

-from Anglesey, who knew Dic well...

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-..and was a bit

-of a tramp, like Dic.

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-This is an original drawing,

-perhaps for this oil painting...

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-..completed after his death.

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-Let's move on to this.

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-It's extremely interesting.

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-This was painted after

-Dic Aberdaron's death...

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-..for the big Rhuddlan

-Eisteddfod, 1850.

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-There was link between

-the artist, William Roos...

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-..and John Jones, Talhaiarn,

-the Eisteddfod organiser.

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-Roos had painted Talhaiarn that

-year, so that was probably the link.

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-This picture, with 'Dic Aberdaron'

-written in the bardic alphabet...

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-..was displayed on stage,

-with other famous figures...

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-..such as Dafydd Ddu Eryri

-and Twm o'r Nant...

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-..as a backdrop to the Eisteddfod.

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-This shows how deeply

-the Dic Aberdaron legend...

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-..had seeped into the national

-consciousness by that time...

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-..seven years after his death.

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-These eleven pictures are a

-significant discovery, aren't they?

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-Yes, they're very interesting,

-and unusual too.

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-Here, you see 'Ellis Bryn Coch'...

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-..that's Ellis Owen Ellis,

-one of our artisan painters...

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-..who drew all the pictures

-in the famous 'Welsh Punch'.

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-He began working on pictures,

-maybe as a commission...

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-..for an illustrated version

-of Dic Aberdaron's life...

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-..immediately after his death.

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-We follow the story to the end -

-I'll now turn over this page...

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-That's it.

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-This is very interesting.

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-It shows Dic as he was in Liverpool,

-wandering around barefoot.

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-Here he is in his wretched lodgings.

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-'Richard Robert Jones

-in his study at a garret...

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-'..in Midghall Street, Liverpool.'

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-But we found more than paintings

-in the National Library.

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-Our research took us

-to the bowels of the building.

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-Goodness! Is it heavy?

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-Goodness! Is it heavy?

-

-Well!

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-It's very heavy.

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-Looks like it.

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-Looks like it.

-

-Careful.

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-There we are.

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-There we are.

-

-Heavens!

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-Can you turn it round a bit?

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-Dic Aberdaron.

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-It says so here - Dic Aberdaron.

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-It has character.

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-This is a complete mystery. We know

-nothing about this sculpture.

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-There are no details in the Library

-about its provenance - nothing.

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-How old is it?

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-With naive work like this,

-it's very hard to say.

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-I'd date it to the start

-of the 20th century.

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-Around 1920.

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-But it's really hard to say

-with something as naive as this.

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-If we were in the USA...

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-..this would be publicly displayed

-in a very prominent position.

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-This kind of naive art,

-what they call folk art...

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-..is considered very important.

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-We don't appreciate it in Wales?

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-No, we don't. But look at the power

-of the image, it's amazing.

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-It's just struck me that perhaps

-we're looking at the work...

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-..of a professional stonemason

-who carved lettering on gravestones.

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-He was used to that.

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-Yes, perhaps it was

-for an eisteddfod competition...

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-..a 3D sculpture.

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-That would account

-for the difference...

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-..between the style of the lettering

-and the more naive work.

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-A lot of mythology

-has grown around Dic.

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-It was said his linguistic skills

-were the result of a pact...

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-..with the Devil, as were

-his skills in all kinds of magic.

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-We know for certain that

-he was buried here, in St Asaph.

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-On our way to Liverpool,

-to search for more artworks...

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-..we went to the parish church

-to see Dic Aberdaron's grave.

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-Why was Dic Aberdaron buried here?

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-St Asaph is on the way to Liverpool,

-on Dic's route from Aberdaron.

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-The main reason why he's here

-is that he had many friends...

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-..and assistants in this area.

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-He tried to raise money

-to publish a dictionary...

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-..his life's work,

-a Hebrew-Greek-Welsh dictionary.

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-There's an interesting link

-with Roos here, through Talhaiarn.

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-The 'englyn' carved

-on the gravestone is by Talhaiarn...

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-..one of the most popular

-poets of the day.

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-Soon after Dic Aberdaron's death...

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-..William Roos painted

-two portraits of Talhaiarn.

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-This suggests to me that there was

-a small crew of intellectuals...

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-..artists and poets too.

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-They all knew each other...

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-..and were all interested

-in poor old Dic Aberdaron.

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-# Richard, Richard... #

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-Liverpool intellectuals were

-the first to take an interest...

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-..in Dic Aberdaron and

-his remarkable language skills.

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-200 years after Dic, our journey

-also took us to Merseyside.

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-.

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-888

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-The son of a Pen Lleyn carpenter,

-the legendary linguist...

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-..Richard Robert Jones came here

-to Liverpool in the early 1800s.

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-He spent more time here than

-anywhere else until he died in 1843.

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-Art historian Peter Lord came

-with me, to learn more about Dic...

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-..and to try

-to find more portraits...

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-..of the man known as Dic Aberdaron.

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-Why was Dic Aberdaron drawn

-to Liverpool, time after time?

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-Dic first came to Liverpool

-in 1804 with his father.

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-We were in the middle

-of wars with France.

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-There was plenty of work

-in the docks...

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-..while there was

-terrible poverty in Wales.

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-The harvest had failed

-for several years.

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-The Welsh moved to Liverpool

-in their thousands...

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-..and settled here around the docks.

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-From Albert Dock,

-we went to Midghall Street...

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-..where Dic found lodgings, thanks

-to the help of influential men...

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-..like businessman

-and historian William Roscoe.

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-This place was named in one

-of Ellis Owen Ellis's paintings.

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-But the place has changed a lot

-since Dic Aberdaron's day.

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-Hoping to discover

-more artworks of Dic...

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-..we went to the Records Office...

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-..where we made

-a very interesting discovery.

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-We have a letter

-which we bought at an auction.

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-I recognise the handwriting.

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-I recognise the handwriting.

-

-You recognise the handwriting?

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-Yes, I do.

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-We've also got an obituary here...

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-..from the 'Carnarvon Herald'...

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-..which calls him Dirty Dic!

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-Dirty Dic?

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-Roscoe's friends called him

-the Literary Pig.

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-Oh, dear!

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-With the help

-of Research Officer, Roger Hull...

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-..we found an original letter

-by Dic Aberdaron...

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-..and a new artwork

-to add to the list of portraits.

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-Here we have a silhouette.

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-Oh!

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-Oh!

-

-That reminds me of...

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-I haven't seen that before,

-that's new.

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-A new version.

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-There's one like that,

-but I've not seen that one before.

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-Is there any indication

-of where that came from?

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-No!

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-That's lovely. There's a very early

-profile image of him like that...

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-..by William Clements,

-the Liverpool artist and engraver.

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-But it's not the same as that -

-he's not wearing the hat.

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-It's a similar style.

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-Similar style - it could be

-Clements again. It's a woodcut.

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-It's a woodcut, so it could be

-Clements again. That's a new one!

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-Our journey to Liverpool

-wasn't in vain.

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-Not at all! It was very

-exciting to see a new image.

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-I didn't expect to see anything new.

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-I thought we'd only

-find the same prints.

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-Seeing that new woodcut

-was very exciting...

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-..for two reasons.

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-We could compare it

-to the profile we already have...

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-..which looks rather

-like a Greek bust.

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-The same artist painted both -

-perhaps William Clements.

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-It was also exciting

-to see Dic Aberdaron...

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-..in the Liverpool context,

-with other popular prints...

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-..of the characters who trod

-Liverpool's streets in those days.

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-That throws new light on him.

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-We tend to see Dic

-as a unique phenomenon.

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-We know a lot

-about him as a Welshman.

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-But, in Liverpool, he was just one

-of a crowd of familiar characters...

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-..on the streets.

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-Despite being very famous...

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-..and getting help

-from very influential people...

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-..Dic travelled incessantly...

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-..in a futile effort

-to realise his great ambition...

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-..of finding a publisher for

-his Welsh-Greek-Hebrew dictionary.

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-We too had more travelling to do.

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-We returned to Dic

-Aberdaron's native village.

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-Peter found important works

-in Staffordshire and Liverpool...

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-..but he had been searching for

-one lost work for fifteen years.

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-It was another bust of Dic,

-sculpted in 1908 by a cobbler...

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-..Robert Rhys Jones.

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-Mair Evans knows

-a lot about local history...

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-..and also knew the sculptor.

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-This is a picture of

-Robert Rhys Jones in Aberdaron...

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-..with the sculpture. Can you

-remember seeing it in Aberdaron?

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-No.

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-You can't?

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-You can't?

-

-I knew nothing about the sculpture.

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-You knew nothing about it?

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-No.

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-No.

-

-Nor anyone else?

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-I can't say.

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-It was in Carreg Plas.

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-It was in Carreg Plas.

-

-Where is that?

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-Carreg Plas is near Porthor.

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-Right.

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-There was an estate there long ago.

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-There was an auction there in 1950.

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-Ellis Ship found it.

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-This was all new to Peter.

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-Mair also had more recent

-photographs of the sculpture...

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-..because she was friends

-with the wife of the former owner.

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-I stayed with his wife.

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-I was friends with her

-because she came from Aberdaron.

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-That's what these pictures are?

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-Yes, those pictures.

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-Yes, those pictures.

-

-I see.

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-The bust looks in good condition.

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-It does.

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-We know that the sculpture

-was displayed...

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-..at the Lloyd George Museum

-in Llanystumdwy for a while.

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-Yes.

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-Yes.

-

-For a year, we think.

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-You don't know where it is now?

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-No.

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-No idea at all?

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-No.

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-Mair knew of another

-portrait of Dic.

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-She described a picture

-painted by her great uncle...

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-..a ship's captain, Thomas Owen.

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-Mair thought the picture was lost.

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-But after making enquiries

-at Gwynedd's Record Office...

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-..we found another portrait

-of Dic Aberdaron.

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-The artist's name was Thomas Owen.

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-We couldn't bring

-the original picture.

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-But we've made

-a copy for you to see.

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-Here it is.

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-Here it is.

-

-Heavens, that's marvellous.

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-The original picture is this size.

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-Exactly.

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-It's exactly the same.

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-It's nice to see it.

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-It's nice to see it.

-

-Indeed it is.

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-Our research into the fate

-of the sculpture continued.

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-We followed another trail suggested

-by Mair, searching for a portrait...

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-..that had been seen for years at

-the Ty Newydd pub in Sarn Mellteyrn.

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-The picture was moved

-from the pub in the early 1980s.

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-After doing more research,

-we were invited to a house...

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-..in another part of the peninsula.

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-My goodness!

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-My goodness!

-

-Isn't it dramatic?

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-That's totally unexpected.

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-I haven't seen anything

-like this before.

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-What's that technique, a drawing?

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-What's that technique, a drawing?

-

-I'd say charcoal.

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-Charcoal or pencil.

-It's been smudged. It's very smooth.

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-Yes, compared to the other drawings.

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-Yes. It's evidently

-based on Clements's picture...

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-..the print we've already seen.

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-We see once again that

-the artist, whoever he or she was...

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-..had elaborated

-on the original print.

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-This time, we see Dic

-in a real location.

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-There are railings behind him,

-he's on a street corner...

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-..like an old balladeer,

-reading something.

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-What strikes one first

-is this remarkable frame.

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-Well, well.

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-Despite the successes...

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-..not finding Robert Rhys Jones's

-sculpture was a big disappointment.

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-The enquiries had followed several

-false trails in Wales and England.

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-Filming was about to finish.

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-After months of correspondence

-and phone calls to people...

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-..with links to Aberdaron...

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-..we heard that the sculpture had

-survived, and was privately owned...

0:19:450:19:49

-..somewhere in north Wales.

0:19:500:19:52

-Here we are!

0:19:520:19:53

-Here we are!

-

-Well.

0:19:530:19:54

-After seeing it in photographs...

0:19:550:19:57

-How does it compare?

0:19:570:19:59

-It's bigger than I thought.

-It's more substantial, in a way.

0:19:590:20:03

-Wow.

0:20:030:20:04

-Wow.

-

-It's quite primitive, isn't it?

0:20:040:20:06

-It is primitive -

-I know what you mean.

0:20:060:20:09

-It's quite hefty!

0:20:100:20:12

-Compared to the one in Aberystwyth,

-what do you think of it?

0:20:260:20:30

-It's very different, in one sense.

0:20:310:20:33

-They're both works

-by untrained sculptors.

0:20:330:20:38

-They're folk art, in a way.

0:20:400:20:42

-But the presence of the Aberystwyth

-bust is different from this one.

0:20:430:20:47

-This one's more naturalistic.

-I hadn't expected that, frankly.

0:20:470:20:51

-Now we can see it,

-it's more naturalistic.

0:20:520:20:55

-The one in Aberystwyth was

-very squareish, a solid block.

0:20:550:20:58

-More mediaeval in a way.

0:20:590:21:01

-Yes.

0:21:010:21:02

-This is interesting - it looks

-as if it's been on a pillar.

0:21:020:21:06

-You see? It's been cut around here.

0:21:060:21:09

-It reminds me

-of a very famous sculpture.

0:21:140:21:18

-You know the sculpture of Llywelyn

-the Great, that came from Deganwy?

0:21:180:21:22

-This conveys the same

-kind of feeling.

0:21:230:21:27

-In a mediaeval context,

-that bust was very sophisticated.

0:21:280:21:33

-It's very striking.

0:21:350:21:37

-The process of collecting

-works wasn't over yet.

0:21:530:21:57

-To see how much awareness

-there still was of Dic...

0:21:570:22:00

-..and whether he still

-appealed as a subject...

0:22:010:22:03

-..we asked pupils at

-Ysgol Crud y Werin, Aberdaron...

0:22:030:22:06

-..to create new portraits, without

-looking at any other images...

0:22:060:22:10

-..of Dic Aberdaron beforehand.

0:22:100:22:12

-The results were striking.

0:22:120:22:15

-Tesni, how did you convey

-Dic Aberdaron's character?

0:22:240:22:28

-I knew his father

-was quite cross with him...

0:22:280:22:32

-..because he didn't work.

0:22:330:22:35

-So I wanted to make him

-look a bit sad.

0:22:350:22:38

-Ianto, your Dic is quite

-a character. Explain the picture.

0:22:410:22:45

-I put a horn around his neck...

0:22:450:22:48

-..because people said he had a horn.

0:22:490:22:53

-When he walked to a small

-village, he blew his horn...

0:22:540:22:59

-..to get attention.

0:23:000:23:02

-Elgan, what elements have you used

-to convey Dic's character?

0:23:050:23:09

-I tried to make him young.

0:23:090:23:11

-I used a mixture

-of charcoal and pastels.

0:23:120:23:16

-I smudged some black on his face...

0:23:170:23:20

-..to make him a bit more realistic.

0:23:200:23:23

-How did you want to convey

-Dic Aberdaron's character, Morgan?

0:23:270:23:31

-Hairy and untidy.

0:23:310:23:33

-Scruffy!

0:23:340:23:35

-Peter, I feel that you were pleased

-to find these works, obviously...

0:23:440:23:48

-..but that you also found it

-a moving experience. Am I right?

0:23:490:23:52

-Yes, especially seeing

-the children and their pictures.

0:23:530:23:57

-The tradition and myths continue,

-and are developed in their work.

0:23:570:24:01

-You remember,

-in the library in Liverpool...

0:24:020:24:04

-..finding that new

-picture of Dic Aberdaron?

0:24:050:24:09

-That was a very exciting experience

-for me - it was a special thrill.

0:24:090:24:13

-I tried to work out why.

0:24:130:24:15

-What we saw was unremarkable -

-it was a piece of street art.

0:24:160:24:20

-Why was it so exciting

-to find something like that?

0:24:200:24:25

-Then, I thought, finding it

-was important, naturally.

0:24:250:24:29

-That was exciting, obviously.

0:24:290:24:31

-But the nature of the image

-touches you very directly.

0:24:310:24:35

-It's simple and unpretentious, like

-all the images of Dic Aberdaron.

0:24:350:24:40

-And we have so many works.

0:24:400:24:42

-I don't know how many art works

-we found on our journey.

0:24:420:24:46

-We have enough for an exhibition,

-we found so many new things.

0:24:470:24:51

-Wouldn't that be fantastic, to bring

-all the art works together...

0:24:510:24:55

-..to a gallery here!

0:24:550:24:57

-To see these visual images

-interweaving with the oral myths...

0:24:580:25:03

-..that are still remembered

-vividly here. That would be great.

0:25:030:25:08

-# Richard Robert Jones.

0:25:080:25:11

-# Who knows?

0:25:110:25:13

-# Richard Robert Jones.

0:25:140:25:17

-# Who knows?

0:25:180:25:21

-# Richard,

0:25:220:25:23

-# Robert,

0:25:240:25:25

-# Jones. #

0:25:260:25:30

-S4/C Subtitles by GWEAD

0:25:300:25:32

-.

0:25:320:25:33

Luned Emyr a'r hanesydd celf Peter Lord sydd ar drywydd y gweithiau celf niferus a ysbrydolwyd gan y crwydryn, Dic Aberdaron. Artworks inspired by Richard Robert Jones, aka Dic Aberdaron