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9,000 GBP
0 Bid(s)
2,400 GBP
3,000 - 5,000 GBP
Live auction
Lot closed
Lot location
Cardiff, Cardiff
‡ HYWEL HARRIES (1921-1990) oil on board - entitled verso, 'Salem Revisited', signed and dated '73, 59 x 75cmsProvenance: the Welsh art collection of award-winning television producer, the late Pat Llewellyn (1962-2017), by descentAuctioneer's Note (Prof. Robert Meyrick):Hywel Harries’ Salem Re-visited is an interpretation of Salem, a 1908 watercolour by Sydney Curnow Vosper. It is a reminder of the historic significance of chapel-going in Wales and the centrality of Nonconformist Christianity in Wales. An art teacher, painter and cartoonist, Harries understood the cultural reference in Vosper’s painting, which shows the interior of Capel Salem Cefncymerau near Harlech. Purchased by industrialist William Hesketh Lever, the image became familiar through mass-circulated reproductions advertising Sunlight Soap.In October 2019, Rogers Jones successfully brokered the purchase by the National Library of Wales of Vosper’s second version of the painting. Vosper painted Salem in the wake the 1904-05 Welsh Revival, which saw a resurgence of religion. Once a national icon, emblematic of religious piety among the rural poor in Wales, Salem’s ubiquity depended on that context. In the intervening years it was distributed through Urdd Gobaith Cymru, reproduced as covers for Cymru Fydd calendars, and used by nationalists and Welsh language activists. As art historian Peter Lord points out, framed prints of Salem are nowadays consigned to ‘folk memory,’ a curious relic of times past. Carmarthenshire born, Harries trained at Llanelli School of Art until 1941, when his studies were interrupted by RAF service. After resuming his studies at Cardiff Technical College in 1947, he held teaching posts at Ealing and Machynlleth before his 1954 appointment as Head of Art at Ardwyn Grammar School (later Penglais Comprehensive School) at Aberystwyth, a position he held until his retirement in 1981.Harries is best known for his paintings of Aberystwyth townscapes and the landscape of Ceredigion. He developed a distinctive handling of layered dry paint using a soft warm palette. His landscapes often explored spatial effects and the decorative flattening of interlocking planes of colour, pattern and form, while his townscapes deploy a narrower tonal range and muted colours. Harries’ Salem Re-visited paintings were a rare dalliance with abstraction. Fellow Welshman Ceri Richards had likewise sought contemporary responses to familiar subjects when he made paintings after Rubens’ The Rape of the Sabine Women in the National Gallery, London, in 1946. Harries would also have been aware of Pablo Picasso’s abstracted translations of paintings by Cranach, Velázquez, and Ingres.Salem portrays the 71-year-old widow Siân Owen Tŷ’n y Fawnog taking her pew before the start of a service. Even in 1908 the scene depicted by Vosper was something of an anachronism. Stove-pipe hats were rarely worn then; in fact, only one such hat could be sourced for the women to model. In 1938, Vosper recalled the names of his sixpence-an-hour models; among them were a local carpenter, farmer, shopkeeper and a tailor’s dummy he named Leusa Jones. In Salem Re-visited, Harries has lettered their names on or alongside each character. The popular belief is that the devil lies in the detail of the folds of Siân Owen’s richly patterned paisley shawl, even though Vosper refuted that the likeness was intentional. There is no ambiguity in Harries’ flat monochrome rendering of the shawl as the profile of a demonic face in contrast to its colourful surroundings. Uncharacteristically for Harries, the act of painting appears on this occasion to be more important than representation or narrative. The illusion of pictorial space being abandoned, the relative position of the congregation becomes unclear. The jigsaw arrangement of overlapping shapes allude to the fragmentary nature of appearances in momentary glances. Peter Lord described this approach as a ‘Cubist-cum-patchwork quilt oil painting.’For Harries, there was an additional resonance in Vosper’s Salem. He was himself a man of faith and a staunch chapel-goer. He was an elder at Capel Salem (later to become Capel Morfa) in Aberystwyth. Always smartly presented in jacket, collar and tie, there was nothing bohemian about him. Indeed, Harries looked every bit the chapel deacon. Founding Ceredigion Art Society in 1963, Harries placed his knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for art into the service of the community. He was Vice-President of the Royal Cambrian Academy and chaired the Art and Craft Committee of the Council of the National Eisteddfod. In retirement, he authored several books, among them Cymru’r Cynfas: Pymtheg Artist Cyfoes [Wales on Canvas: Fifteen Contemporary Artists] (1983).Prof. Robert Meyrick, art historian, curator and educator, until recently Professor, Head of Aberystwyth University’s School of Art and Keeper of the School of Art Museum and Galleries. Comments: framed, ready to hangDelivery: complimentary delivery can be arranged for all purchases over £4000 in this Welsh Sale auction (England and Wales only) please contact for further details
The Welsh Sale, Cardiff
Venue address
17 Llandough Trading Estate
Penarth Road
Cardiff, Cardiff
CF11 8RR
United Kingdom
The Welsh Sale, Cardiff

Welsh pictures, Welsh furniture, Welsh porcelain & Gregynog books

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Viewing Strictly by appointment

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Bidding In the room / telephone / online commission bidding / live online

Collection Strictly by appointment. After payment please call the office 02920 708125. No collections on auction days.

Auction dates
Apr 27, 2024 10:00 AM BST
Viewing dates
By appointment only
Auction currency
Other payment methods

Delivery: complimentary delivery can be arranged for invoices over £4000 in this Welsh Sale auction (England and Wales only) please contact for further details (except some larger items eg. furniture / very large paintings)



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If the work of a living artist has a hammer price of 1,000 euros or more (approx £700) an additional 4% will be levied on the hammer price.  This is known as Droit de Suite and is an obligatory levy which is passed on to the living artist.







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5. A picture catalogues as “SCHOOL” accompanied by the name of a place or country and a date means that in our opinion the picture was executed at that time and in that location.


6. A picture bearing the word “AFTER” is in our opinion a copy of any date after a work by that artist.


7. The term “BEARS A SIGNATURE” means that in our opinion the artist’s name has been added by another hand.


8. Dimensions are given height before width, are at approximate and to the nearest half an inch.


9. “ANTIQUE” – The word antique is intended to define a TYPE of auction and NOT NECESSARILY the age of the items in it.  Our Antique Auctions may contain items up to present-day age.

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Other Charges
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The percentages are as follows:
4%          up to €50,000
3%          between €50,000.01 and 200,000
1%          between €200,000.01 and 350,000
0.5%       between €350,000.01 and 500,000
0.25%     in excess of €500,000 

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Condition Reports
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Please note we do not offer an ‘in-house’ P&P service in our Cardiff saleroom; however we are able to post small items in jiffy type bags only – this is done at the purchaser’s risk and cost with no insurance liability on the sender’s part (please enquire prior to placing bids).

We suggest contacting our local Mailboxes / 02921 322157 for insured carriage. Successful bidders will be offered the services of Auction Logistics. Further information on the delivery service provided by Auction Logistics is available via the following link : 

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