Chronology

1916

Born 20th November, Emlyn Mill, Adpar, Newcastle Emlyn, Cardiganshire.

John Elwyn at four months old on his mother’s knee, 1917.

-1930

Adpar County Junior School.

1930-1934

Llandysul County Grammar School.

John Elwyn and his sisters on stepping stones at Llanwrtyd, September 1923.

1935-1937

Carmarthen School of Art. Awarded Prize for Animal Drawing 1934–1935, and the Prize for Figure Drawing 1935–1936.

Katie Davies (sister), David Davies (father), Sally Davies (sister), John Elwyn Davies, Anne Davies (mother), and Mary Davies (sister), September 1936.

1937-1938

West of England College of Art, Bristol. Won Royal Exhibition Scholarship in Painting to the R.C.A.

John Elwyn (left) shakes the hand of Evan Charlton on leaving the West of England College of Art, Bristol, 1938. Principal Donald Milner (second from left). Fellow student Dennis William Reed (second right).

1938-1940 & 1946-1947

Royal College of Art, London. Awarded the Diploma Prize, College Prize for Life Drawing and Rodney Burn RA awarded a two-guinea prize for a landscape in his Diploma Exhibition.

John Elwyn at the piano in the common room of the Royal College of Art, London 1947

1940

Objector’s Tribunal. Directed to land work, on the forestry and in food production.

1942

First contribution to a National Eisteddfod of Wales exhibition. Commissioned by Paul Matt (designer for the Brynmawr Furniture Company) to design and execute a backcloth for Meini Gwagedd, a play by Kitchener Davies.

1947

Worked as a graphic designer in the London offices of J. Walter Thompson.

1948

First exhibited at the Royal Academy. Moved to Portsmouth to take up an appointment as Lecturer in Painting at the College of Art, where he remained until 1953. First correspondence with Winifred Coombe-Tennant who in turn introduced him to David Bell at the Welsh Arts Council.

John Elwyn [top right] with painting and architecture colleagues at Portsmouth College of Art, 1952

1949

First London exhibition – with Jack Wright – at the Paul Alexander Gallery. A series of paintings depicting chapel going rituals in 1920s rural Cardiganshire, its festivals and funerals.

1951

First of many contributions to the annual ‘Pictures for Welsh Schools’ exhibitions organised by the Society of Education through Art (S.E.A.), and staged at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

1950-1953

Paintings of the miners and their landscape near Pont-rhyd-y-fen.

1953

Moved to Winchester where he taught at the School of Art. First illustrations for the Radio Times.

1953-1958

Paintings of farm life in Cardiganshire, many executed for Society for Education through Art exhibitions.

John Elwyn receiving the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod, Aberdare 1956

1956

Awarded ‘Gold Medal for Fine Art’ at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Aberdare. Designed dust jacket for Glyn Jones’ first novel The Valley, the City, the Village, published by J. M. Dent.

John Elwyn at the launch of Glyn Jones’ novel ‘The Valley, The City, The Village’ 1956

1958

Designed and executed sets for a production of Antigone at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Ebbw Vale.

1959

Adjudicator, Youth Section in Painting and Drawing at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Caernarfon. First illustrations for Shell County Guides.

1960-1964

Paintings based on the seasons, and on the growth and felling of trees in the Savernake Forest, begin edging their way towards abstraction.

1963

Commissions from Barclays Bank, Glaxo Laboratories and the General Post Office.

1965

Solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, London. Invited to become Honorary Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.

1965-1969

Paintings of seasonal changes in his garden and an examination of the inner structures of blooms and seed pods.

1967

Six lithographs of Welsh landscapes commissioned by The Collectors’ Guild, Madison Avenue, New York for a scheme organised by Andrew Purchase and printed by the Curwen Press (zinc plates). The Curwen commissioned two further lithographs of Caernarfon and Harlech castles, printed from the stones by Stanley Jones. John Elwyn produced more lithographs for the American market in 1971 (printed in seven colours at the Curwen in editions of 250).

John Elwyn ‘Black Cat and Geese’ (lithograph, 1967)

1968

Invited selector for the ‘Pictures for Welsh Schools’ exhibition, organised by the Society for Education through Art and the Arts Council for the National Museum of Wales. Second solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in November.

1969

The Welsh Arts Council commissioned two paintings of chapels for the Recording Wales project.

1970

Married Gillian Butterworth. After ten years of near abstraction returned to a more direct representation of the Cardiganshire landscape.

John Elwyn and Gillian Butterworth

1976

Fine Art Adjudicator (with Kyffin Williams) at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Cardigan. Retired from Winchester School of Art.

1979

Elected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour.

John Elwyn in his Winchester studio

1981

Lithograph of Capel Hawen, Rhydlewis reproduced as a Christmas card for the Commission for the Protection of Rural Wales.

1982

Elected Honorary Member of the Gorsedd, the Bardic Council of the Eisteddfod, adopting the Bardic title Arlunydd Dyfed (Painter of Dyfed).

1984

Commissioned portrait of Dr Raymond Edwards, Principal of the University of Wales College of Music and Drama, Cardiff.

1986

Commissioned portrait of Sir Alun Talfan Davies, President of H.T.V. Wales.

1990

Diagnosed with bowel cancer and In May underwent major surgery at Winchester.

1993

Twenty-nine line drawings illustrating House of Leaves, a volume of poems by Dafydd ap Gwilym, published in a limited edition by the Old Stile Press, Llandogo, Gwent.

1996

Honorary D.Litt. awarded by the University of Wales in recognition of his contribution to art in Wales. The National Library of Wales staged a retrospective exhibition of his work to commemorate his eightieth birthday.

John Elwyn receiving University of Wales Honorary D.Litt from Professor Derec Llwyd Morgan, April 1996

1997

Last solo exhibition held at the Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff. John Elwyn died at 4.30am on 13th November at the neurological unit of Southampton General Hospital. He was cremated 20th November at Southampton Crematorium, on his 81st birthday.

John Elwyn 1996 (Photo: Bernard Mitchell).

1998

Ashes interred on 6th April in a plot alongside his family at Parc Cemetery outside Newcastle Emlyn.

1999

Gregynog Press published in book form The Twelve, wood engravings illustrating Dysgyblion yr Iesu (Disciples of the Jesus) that were cut in 1944, with accompanying extracts from the Bible selected by Dr Glyn Tegai Hughes.

1999-2000

Memorial exhibition tours the National Library of Wales, Bell Fine Art in Winchester, Carmarthenshire County Museum, and the Royal Cambrian Academy.

2016

A Quiet Sincerity centenary exhibition at the School of Art Museum and Galleries, Aberystwyth University.

2020

Gillian Butterworth (Mrs John Elwyn Davies) dies at age 89 in Winchester on 19 January.