The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Welsh Castle (Tretower)  by Ivor Powell

18. Welsh Castle (Tretower)

23.8 x 30.8cm. Board with re-used glazed gold frame

NLW(PG 5902)

In his own hand, and probably for exhibition purposes in an English Midland gallery, Ivor wrote Welsh Castle on the reverse, though he would have had no intention of disguising just which castle it was. Also, probably with an exhibition in mind, he re-used a glazed frame and created a paper white border around the painting. The bold form of Tretower Castle satisfied both his interest in exploring ruined buildings (he was in his element when wandering through the border castles) and his need for subjects which offered a wide range of aesthetic possibilities. Though he probably relied to some extent on a photograph of this complex ruin, in his usual manner, he stops us from viewing his image as merely a representation of the building, especially by inserting an encircling band of stone around the tower against the laws of geometrical perspective. He also uses the whites and blues of a farm and cottage at left and right of the castle in a way which no photograph of the actual setting could have shown him. Though the castle is recognisably accurate, in its particular arrangement of walls and openings, he modified it freely in order to locate it securely, through necessary balances and harmonies, in his picture surface.

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