Wednesday, May 25, 2011

David Jones: Culture and Artifice: Conference in Washington DC March 30-31, 2012

Everyone -- somewhat belatedly I'm posting this news from Anne Price-Owen, who edits the newsletter for the DJ Society in the UK: Here's the full newsletter.

23 May 2011

Dear Friends

This letter has a double function. Firstly, it contains a summary of news which members who receive emails should have seen over the past 5 months. Those friends who don’t access a computer now have the chance of catching up with information which most of you have received. I apologize for the delay in sending news of the DJS to you; I realize that some of you may feel rather compromised by this, but I trust you will forgive my lack of correspondence. I hope very much to remedy this in the late Summer when I shall have officially retired from my academic duties at Swansea Met. I’m hoping by that time that I’ll have the DJS website up and running, so that all members will have the opportunity of accessing news online, provided our libraries aren’t closed down! (Can’t think what David Jones would have said about that.) Of course, I shall also find time to write more frequently than I have over the past couple of years. For similar reasons, I also apologize for not sending out a journal – I haven’t time to proof it and select & insert images that complement the text pieces.

Donald Allchin and Anne Morris
The year commenced on a sad note when we learned of the death of Canon A.M. (Donald) Allchin who died in Oxford on 23 Dec. 2010. He was a tremendous scholar, and an informed writer, and a man who greatly admired poetry. Many of you will have met him at conferences and seminars, and on our pilgrimage to N.Wales. He was 80 years old, and since its inception was an inspiration and wonderful support to the DJS. I also have to report the sad passing of Anne Morris, who was a little younger than Donald when she died on 21 March. Anne was another indefatigable supporter of the DJS who lived close to me in Sketty, and will also be severely missed by all who knew her. (I have no-one to help me with the envelope-stuffing, and to advise me of art sales where DJ works were going up for auction. Where is my Friend?) Anne was a collector of art, and was delighted to show her works off. The fact that she bought so much art – even though at times we wondered where she’d put it all (her final purchase was a tapestry by Muriel Clements which she commissioned for a particular space in her hall! – meant that she gave artists financial help as well as much encouragement.

Walk at Capel-y-ffin
Anne had already told me she would be attending this year’s DJS event. After taking account of the preferences of the DJS Friends, a Walk is confirmed. The Walk at Capel-y-ffin will take place on Saturday 24 September. We shall meet at 11.30am at the little church, (not the monastery on the adjacent hill where DJ lived: that is private property). David Alston, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Wales, will lead the Walk. David is an expert on the locale and I’ve had the privilege of being on his walks in the past. They are inspirational, and we shall see the places where DJ stood in order to create some of his great landscapes in the area. Moreover, the grazing ponies on these Welsh hill-slopes usually oblige us with a pose typical of DJ’s view of them! We shall have a break for lunch during the walk, and the pace will be determined by the slowest walker. It’s advisable to be prepared for cool weather – let’s hope it’s not wet, bur as we’ll be doing a bit of slow hill climbing where the winds usually whirl about – remember all those scurrying clouds enthusiastically articulated by DJ? Well, you’ll probably experience them! The walk is free, but lunch will be supplied at a cost of £5.00.

May I recommend that you may wish to stay in Hay-on-Wye, where there is plenty of accommodation, from first-rate hotels to pleasant B&B houses. After the walk and on our return to Hay, it would be good to meet up at a restaurant for dinner. I can book one for us, if that’s what you’d like – but you must let me know. I shall be spending the week-end in Hay and will have my car there. Other friends will also be driving. There should be enough cars for everyone to get to Capel. (There is no point in organizing coach transport owing to the narrow, winding lanes that lead to the Honddu valley.) If you have a car, you may be asked to take extra passengers, but you will not be obliged to do so.

Those members who saw Framing Wales, a series of 4 programmes broadcast on BBC Wales TV in February & March, where David Jones was featured in the first two programmes, will have the opportunity of seeing some reproductions of his works which were shown to the nation.

The following day, 25 September, one of the friends local to the area, William Gibbs, has very kindly invited DJS friends to his house near Abergavenny, where he has a wonderful collection of art. William is a stalwart of the Brecknock Museum in Brecon, and was instrumental in collecting some works of David Jones for the art gallery. We shall leave Hay at 2.00pm on Sunday to drive to William’s house. For anyone staying in the area for several days, Abergavenny may be an alternative town that you might wish to make your base. Pauline Griffiths runs ‘The Art Shop’ on Cross Street and offers an enormous amount of artists’ materials for sale. She also curates the exhibitions in one of the most charming galleries you’re likely to encounter, which is above the shop. T Fenni Castle is nearby, as well as other historic buildings, among them St Mary’s Church (founded in 1087), which has a wealth of history displayed in carvings and tombs, and especially the ‘Tree of Jesse’, a monolithic carving from oak, which
dates back to the C15th. The Tithe Barn is also worth a visit. And Brecon, with its
medieval history, Cathedral, river and canal, is not far away.

Likewise, Monnow Valley Arts is close to Abergavenny. When Rupert Otten relocated his gallery, Wolseley Fine Arts, he selected on of the most tranquil valleys on the borders! Monnow Valley Arts includes a sculpture park with permanent and temporary displays, beautiful gardens and a delightful split level gallery. Rupert specialises in works on paper, and frequently features shows of image and text, in keeping with David Jones. Apart from hosting day symposia on specific topics, he keeps a good stock of David Jones’ and Eric Gill’s works. His current exhibition, ‘The Romantic Landscape in Wales’ includes works by John Piper, Graham Sutherland & Ralph Maynard Smith, together with ‘Images of Herefordshire’ by Reg Boulton. Rupert has a very wide range of works on paper for his 2011 showcase portfolio, and these can be purchased from him: ph.01873 860525 or email,

There is just one publication that you may wish to source: Tom Dilworth’s article appeared in the TLS, 4 February, about DJ’s very first poem complete poem. It demonstrates DJ’s sense of humour and fun. Tom have it the working title of ‘Lecher Hague’, and the TLS title to Tom’s commentary is ‘Under Arrest’. You’ll enjoy it…

Many of you will be familiar with Brenda Chamberlain’s work, especially those who visited Bardsey Island on the NWales tour in 2005, where we saw her mural on the house she lived in, memories of which are recorded in her first autobiographical novel Tide Race. I attach information concerning her works on Bardsey, in the likelihood that you will support the enthusiasts who are determined to preserve her works on the island. I know the sum of £1000 is beyond the reach of many of you, but you may wish to pledge some money – however small – to ensure that her work is preserved for future generations of admirers of the visual (& literary) arts. The DJS is also pledging money on its members’ behalf.

Dates for the Diary: A celebration of David Jones’s visual art will be hung at the National Gallery and Museum of Wales, Cardiff, from 5 Nov 2011 – 4 March 2012. This should give many of you an opportunity to visit the gallery and see the Museum’s collection of David’s visual work. Oliver Fairclough,
the curator of the show has offered to give guided tours to the DJS, and I would be happy to liaise with Oliver to offer a date(s), which Friends might like to consider. We could see the show early in November, or alternatively in February (as well?). Perhaps you can make suggestions as to your preference and Oliver & I shall do our best to accommodate you.


For all interested in literature in Wales and walking, Llenyddiaeth Cymru/ Literature Wales have organized alternative tours as follows: Sat 11 June: Idris Davies in the Rhymney Valley; Sat 18 June: Owen Sheers, Resistence in the Olchon Valley; Sat 30 June: J.R.R. Tolkein’s Wales in the Black Mountains; Sat 24 Sept – oops! Clash!! – T. Harri Jones in Llanafan Fawr. Prices vary for these tours, so contact: ph.029 20472266, or email,

As if that isn’t enough literature to be going on with, The Manchester Fiction Prize 2011, is £10.000, for the best new short story of up to 3,000 words in length. Contact James Draper for more details/application form: ph:0161
2471787, or

Film: David Jones Between the Wars on David Jones
I would like to thank personally, together with Derek Shiel and Adam Alive, those friends who have contributed funds for the final stages of Derek’s new film, David Jones Between the Wars. We are all very grateful, and look forward to seeing the film.

Finally, please let me know if you wish to join is on 24 September. I trust this
letter finds you all well.

With every good wish for the Summer,


NB If you have an email address, please let me have it to add to the e-version,
and you will receive DJS news before it goes out of date! Thanks!