Art & music at Gregynog
It was the creation of the Gregynog Press that was to be the most successful and enduring of the Davies sisters’ arts projects. However, it was their passion and appreciation for the arts which separated them from their contemporaries.
The Davies sisters together created one of the most important private collections of art in Britain and donated a total of 260 works to the National Museum Wales in the mid 20th century, where it has become one of the nation’s greatest treasures. However, some of the pictures, a great deal of the furniture, and many, many books still remain at Gregynog.
Their interest in music too was extraordinary and they had not been at Gregynog for long before they had converted Lord Joicey’s billiard room into a music room and formed a choir, mainly from estate employees and their families. (‘Gardener wanted – tenor preferred’, went the advertisement – or so the story goes). This music became a defining motif of the Gregynog during the wars and the Welsh College of Music was largely funded by the Davies sisters.
From 1932 to 1938, an Annual Festival of Music and Poetry was held here, conducted by such musical luminaries as Sir Henry Walford Davies and Sir Adrian Boult, with Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Holst – not to mention George Bernard Shaw, amongst the list of other distinguished guests who visited. It must have been remarkable to have attended one of these early festivals, to listen to exquisite music surrounded by Impressionist paintings from artists including Renoir and Cezanne.
The music festival too lives on as each year in June, Gregynog plays host to an annual music festival, featuring performances by some of the world’s leading classical musicians, ensuring the house and gardens are still redolent with the atmosphere of the Davies sisters and their magical era.
Click on a link below to download tales from the History of Gregynog:
Even before the war the Davies sisters had begun collecting paintings and other works of art, notably French Impressionists and post-Impressionists – Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Pissarro, Sisley, Berthe Morisot.