The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Ivor Powell at work

Ivor Powell at work

Ivor Powell (1909 - 1983) was what dictionaries of art might call a naive or primitive artist, though ‘non-academic’, ‘untutored’ or ‘native’ would be more accurate labels.

Since most amateur artists try to emulate the work of accomplished professionals, what they produce tends to be hampered both by their lack of skill and by their alienation from their own thought and culture. In these paintings of Ivor Powell, we find compositions conceived wholly in their own terms.

This website provides the interested viewer with a short biography, a general review of his work, and a comprehensive illustrated descriptive catalogue of his surviving paintings.

About this website

Many of Ivor's paintings are preserved in the National Library of Wales. This site was created by Ivor Powell's sons, Geoff and Roy, so as to make his work available to a wider audience, both in Wales and beyond. It is hoped that the information provided here, on both his life and his paintings, will help to save him from joining those many other naive artists about whom little, if anything, is known.

"While we always valued Ivor's paintings, it was after his death that we realised how urgent it had become to save them from loss or destruction, and to ensure that they were supported by information which would secure for them a cultural narrative, located in time and place. Fortunately, Peter Lord, who has done much to cultivate an intelligent understanding of the kind of art Ivor had created, came to know of his paintings at this time and it was through his interest in them, and his familiarity with the comprehensive collection of Welsh art which the National Library of Wales maintains, that a secure home for all the paintings that remained in his possession was found.

Once secured, our attention then turned to what opportunities there might be for an interested public to learn about all Ivor's paintings and, with advice from Library staff, it was decided the most convenient and cost-effective way would be through creating an internet website. Since the Library has a progressive policy of digitising its collections to maximise public access, our private initiative would provide support for publicly funded provision. Since, like all art-lovers, we wish for improved access to our public collections, we hope that our modest contribution, designed and made user-friendly by Technoleg Taliesin, will provide something of an exemplar for the kind of practical help that can be given to our national institution, especially in times of financial constraint, to support it in its difficult task of continuing to collect, preserve and maintain what sustains our creative identity."
Geoff Powell, Roy Powell, January 2012

"My late brother was a retired lecturer from the University of Keele. He had a strong interest and delight in the visual arts and in music. He found time amongst his philosophical and historical writing to produce this labour of love. The National Lbrary of Wales are the guardians of more than fifty of Ivor's works but in my opinion the cream of his paintings is in private hands. Therefore it is important that such a website should be maintained. It is to be hoped that others may follow in making records of equal quality of all the other 'outsider' artists, known and unknown".
Tribute by Roy Powell to his brother Geoff, who died in the spring of 2013.

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