BBC commissions landmark Welsh Art series

Dec 9, 2020

For the first time on television, the full story of the remarkable riches of the art of Wales will be set out – as well as the places, people and history that inspired it. The BBC4 and BBC Wales three-part factual series ‘The Story of Welsh Art’ (3×60’) is presented by broadcaster and art lover Huw Stephens.

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The Story Of Welsh Art will take viewers on a breath-taking visual tour of the nation, from stunning bronze-age artefacts to delicate medieval stained glass, from gentry portraits by master painters to folk art, some of the most thrilling and ground-breaking landscape art in the world to award-winning cutting edge contemporary pieces.

The programme will include both art made in Wales by homegrown artists as well as art of Wales by world-renowned artists.

Before production started, Presenter, Huw Stephens said: “The Story Of Welsh Art is something I’m very much looking forward to making. I get to travel Wales to see the art that tells the story of our country, and meet those who have their own take on it. I’m hoping it’s going to be a surprising, illuminating and fascinating journey.”

Paul Islwyn Thomas, CEO of Wildflame, says: “A whole generation has grown up without an engaging, inspiring and accessible doorway into their own national heritage, so a deep-dive into Welsh art is long overdue.  We are delighted to be working with Huw Stephens on this series.  He is hugely passionate about Welsh art and is the perfect presenter to open up this most fascinating story to a new audience. Wildflame is known for its ability to bring exceptional talent to productions, both on and off-screen, so we are delighted to be bringing this story alive with the help of some of the best names associated with Welsh art.”

BBC Cymru Wales’ Head of Commissioning, Nick Andrews, says: “This series is long overdue and in many ways a series of firsts. The first time we’ve told the sweeping history of the art of Wales in full, and the first time much of our art will have been captured in high definition with the very latest technology.
“Having Huw Stephens tell us this story and take us on this spectacular adventure from prehistory to the present day will be such a treat and an important piece of work.”

Christina Macaulay, Commissioning Editor, BBC Wales, added: “This series is a real treat.  In these strange Covid times we have missed being able to travel; to see places and to visit our churches, stately homes, museums and galleries.  Now Huw Stephens is our companion on a journey round Wales and beyond to bring us these works of art.  There are surprises, and it really is revelatory to see such a sweep of art in one series.  No series like this can possibly cover every artist and work of art, but it will send viewers on their own journeys of discovery. And through our partnership with BBC4 and iPlayer, it can take Welsh art to a whole new audience.”

Director of BBC Arts, Jonty Claypole, says: “Welsh artists have always been at the cutting edge of artistic innovation. BBC Arts is proud to join with BBC Wales in putting a spotlight on this breath-taking story of creative vision, voice and virtuosity.”

This three-part landmark production will air on BBC Two Wales and BBC Four on Monday 1st March 2021, 9pm. The series will also be available on BBCiPlayer.

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