Welsh Highland Railway, Porthmadog, Wales (Portmadoc Cob)
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fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting

William Selwyn

Welsh ( b.1933 )

Welsh Highland Railway, Porthmadog, Wales (Portmadoc Cob)

  • Watercolour

Image size 11.6 inches x 16.7 inches ( 29.5cm x 42.5cm )
Frame size 19.5 inches x 24.4 inches ( 49.5cm x 62cm )


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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original painting by William Selwyn.
The watercolour is presented and supplied in a sympathetic and contrasting contemporary frame to suit the subject colouration (which is shown in these photographs); conservation materials have been used throughout.
The artist’s original label from his address in Caernarvon showing the artwork’s title is retained and mounted on the new backboard.
This vintage painting is in superb condition. It wants for nothing and is supplied ready to hang and display.

William Selwyn has produced atmospheric and highly accomplished work, which has earned him the well-deserved reputation for being one of the best living watercolour artists working today. His work is now highly acclaimed and collected. His standing as one of the great Welsh artists is such that his work is currently part of the GCSE art curriculum for students living in Wales, ensuring him a place in the hearts and minds of a whole generation of Welsh children.

William Selwyn was born as William Selwyn Jones in Caernarfon in 1933. There was another now great artist of the same name who was born in Llanberis, North Wales and as the two both became successful they came to an agreement which served to prevent them being mistaken for each other. One became known as William Selwyn, the other as Selwyn Jones.

William Selwyn has spent most of his life in the area of his birth and currently lives and works from north Wales. From 1952 - 1954 he served national service in the Royal Artillery and then studied at Bangor Normal College from 1954 - 1956. He subsequently taught art at Maesincla Junior School and at Syr Hugh Owen School until his retirement in 1990. Since his retirement from teaching Selwyn has devoted himself to painting full-time.

His art chiefly concerns the landscape of Gwynedd, farm workers and fishermen. He says, 'Apart from work done in Venice and Paris most of my subjects are inspired by the landscape of Gwynedd and its people. I am most grateful to the fishermen and the farming community for providing me with much material to paint. I aim to record an experience at a specific time at a location where the elements also play an important part.'

Snowdonia, on his doorstep, has also been a constant inspiration with its dramatic mountain passes and ever changing light.

Whilst he is best known for his Welsh scenes Selwyn has also painted extensively in England and Venice. He is a master of light and atmosphere and his work evokes great emotion.

He is an elected member of the Royal Cambrian Academy.

He has exhibited widely, including at the Royal Cambrian Academy, the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales, the Royal West of England Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists in London, the Tegfryn Art Gallery at Menai Bridge, the Albany Gallery, Cardiff, the Thackery Gallery, London and the Tibb Lane Gallery in Manchester.

He was the 1998 prizewinner of the Singer & Friedlander Sunday Times 11th Watercolour Competition with his watercolour of Llanberis Pass. He was Welsh Artist of the Year in 2001 and winner of the Spirit of Llyn in 2003.

William Selwyn's works has been purchased by Gwynedd Council and Anglesey County Council, by the University of Bangor, the Arts council of Wales, the National Library of Wales and the University of Bath. Today his paintings form part of many prominent private collections both at home and abroad.

Sir Kyffin Williams has said “I believe William Selwyn to be one of Wales’s finest Watercolourists. It is wonderful to see how his painting has just blossomed….”

© Big Sky Fine Art

This original atmospheric watercolour captures the essence of a steam engine train of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railway as it powers across the harbourside barrier known as the Porthmadog Cob (Portmadoc). The palette is smoky blues, greys, a touch of green and a flash of red. The Cob was built in 1811, and the railway that runs along it was originally used to carry slate to the port to load into ships. Nowadays it is still in use as a popular tourist route. The train is travelling directly towards us, with smoke rising from its funnel, a red blaze on its front, and red carriages behind. To the left of the painting is a wide expanse of sea, soft and blue, and in the distance are the mountains of Snowdonia. To the right we glimpse the houses of the wide flat valley of Traeth Mawr, formerly the estuary of the Glaslyn before the Porthmadog Cob (Portmadoc) was created, sealing off the mouth of the estuary and enabling the land to be reclaimed. The painting represents a piece of cultural heritage in a dramatic style.

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