Cerys Matthews, 2017 Year of Legends Ambassador, will officially open the Arthur and Welsh Mythology exhibition at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on Wednesday, July 26 at 2pm.
Exhibition visitors will meet some of the most colourful characters from Welsh mythology whose stories are presented on the pages of manuscripts, on the canvases of artworks and through the library’s vast screen and sound archive.
Wales has a long and rich tradition of storytelling. The Mabinogion, folk legends and local myths and tales have formed a part of our cultural inheritance from very early times to the present day.
The Welsh Government’s ‘Year of Legends’ has given the library a perfect excuse to bring together the nation’s treasures, some of which have never before been on public display, in an exhibition of epic proportions which spans both the Hengwrt and Gregynog Galleries.
“It is my pleasure to officially open the Arthur and Welsh Mythology exhibition at The National Library of Wales,” said Cerys. “As a 2017 Year of Legends Ambassador, I was delighted to see that the library had chosen Welsh Government’s theme for this year by staging this exhibition and, as a result, giving the audience an opportunity to see some of the nation’s outstanding collections that represents our heritage.
“I encourage everyone to visit this beautiful location on Cardigan Bay as a must-see destination this summer.”
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said:
“During our Year of Legends, it’s more important than ever to connect people to Wales’ rich heritage and culture. This exhibition will bring the wealth of our stories alive and give an insight into how our myths and legends are connected to our inspiring landscape.”
The Hengwrt Gallery will showcase some of the library’s greatest Arthurian treasures, from the enigmatic warrior’s earliest appearances in Welsh literature to his kingly ‘conquests’ of an European stage by means of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century History of the Kings of Britain.
Visitors will have the unique opportunity to view the Book of Aneirin, showing the earliest appearance of Arthur in any work of literature, alongside other medieval treasures such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and White Book of Rhydderch. Discover how a character of humble origins captured the imaginations of a continent, and became the most famous of all kings.
It seems fitting that the Gregynog Gallery – the largest and most prestigious gallery in Wales – will exhibit some of the library’s impressive art and audio-visual collection, telling the story of the Mabinogion and the myths and legends that surround us.
Although many of the Welsh legends are tied up in magic and fantasy, their connection to real locations throughout the Welsh landscape continue to inspire artists throughout the ages. In this exhibition, visitors will wander through the legendary landscapes of Wales as portrayed on the canvases of artists such as J. M. W. Turner, Margaret Jones, Ken Etheridge and Kyffin Williams.
Linda Tomos, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said:
“Don’t miss this opportunity to see the original Arthur portrayed through the nation’s storytellers over the centuries. This is one of our most creative exhibitions in recent years including some of the library’s most important works of art, manuscripts and audio-visual collection.”
The opening will begin at 2pm in the Council Chamber, followed by a short story around the cauldron in the Gregynog Gallery at 2.30pm.