‘An Art of Our Own’: State Patronage of the Visual Arts in Wales, 1945–1967

Huw David Jones
  • Contemporary British History, March 2013, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2012.685690

Art in post-war Wales

What is it about?

The Arts Council of Great Britain (est. 1945) has often been accused of "cultural imperialism" - imposing upper-class English tastes and values on the Celtic fringe. This paper presents a more complex picture. During the 1950s and 1960s the Arts Council gave Wales the autonomy to promote Welsh art and national identity - albeit within a British context. Its idea of British culture was far more diverse than previous accounts suggest.

Why is it important?

This paper examines how a vibrant Welsh art world came into being during the 1950s and 1960s with the support of the Arts Council of Great Britain. It also shows how the Arts Council helped to strengthen Welsh national identity - albeit within a British context - through its championing of Welsh-themed paintings and exhibitions. The paper is one of the first to consider the Arts Council's role in a Welsh context and will benefit anyone interested in post-war British culture and society.

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