Updated: Feb 15
Prynhawn Da I Chi I Gyd! / Good Afternoon to you All!
Today, in light of the postponement of the National Eisteddfod of Wales - which should be taking place as we speak - we are celebrating the history of the festival, learning some Eisteddfod trivia, and looking back at 2012 when Anne Morgan was given the much coveted honour of designing and making the bards crown.
Read on to find out who won the crown that Anne designed, (pictured above), what the Academy Awards have got to do with the Eisteddfod, and why Pavarotti credited his incredible career to the festival.
Also, as a celebration of all things Eisteddfod, we’re giving you a discount code worth 20% to spend when buying through our online shop.
Yr Hanes / The History
The National Eisteddfod is thought to be the oldest and largest festival celebration of music and poetry in Europe, with roots dating back to 1176.
It is said that Rhys Ap Gryfydd invited poets and musicians from all over Wales to a grand gathering at his castle in Cardigan, with a chair at the Lord’s table being awarded to the best poet and musician. This is a tradition that continues today in the modern Eisteddfod, although the festival as we know it, only came to fruition in 1880, and apart from 2020, has only been cancelled on one other occasion - 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.
Today, the National Eisteddfod is a celebration of both traditional and contemporary Welsh language, culture, craftsmanship, music, poetry and life.
Y Coron / The Crown
In 2012 Anne was approached to design and make the Bard's crown, after being selected from a prestigious short-list of designers.
That year, the Eisteddfod was held in the Vale of Glamorgan which provided Anne with a perfect source of inspiration for her design, taking cues from the rugged Welsh landscapes and specifically the Welsh heritage coastline in the Vale.
“I looked at the views from Ogmore and Southerndown. We have the sandy beaches and places like Barry Island, but also the drama of the coastline at Nash Point and Southerndown. I wanted to show the peaks, textures and layers of the cliffs in the piece. Although the texture is quite organic I wanted it to be quite sharp and finished, quite strong with clean lines. So I combined smooth lines and sharp points with texture.” AM
The result is this incredibly beautiful piece that encapsulates everything Anne wanted from her design. Presented to the winning bard for their poetry during the culmination of the festival, it's a centre-point for the entire event, and a a true honour to be asked, especially as a non welsh speaker.
In 2012 the crown was worn by the Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis whose work has been immortalised in the Welsh Millennium Building in Cardiff Bay where you can see her words writ large into the face of the building itself.
"In These Stones Horizons Sing"
& Creu Gwir fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen
('Creating truth like glass from inspiration's furnace')
Gan Gwyneth Lewis
Ffeithiau Hwyl / Fun Facts
The Welsh Language Film 'Hedd Wyn' is about the poet Ellis Humphrey Evans who was posthumously awarded the highest accolade in Welsh literary circles at the 1917 National Eisteddfod, after being killed in action in the First World War . The film went on to be nominated for an OSCAR Academy Award, for best Foreign Language Film - making it the only Welsh film ever to receive the nomination.
In 1955, Pavarotti experienced his first singing success when he was a member of the Corale Rossini, a male voice choir from Modena that also included his father, winning first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen. He later said that this was the most important experience of his life, and that it inspired him to become a professional singer.
It's not just Wales that holds Eisteddfods! Argentina, Australia and South Africa also hold performing arts festivals using the word 'Eisteddfod' to describe these cultural events. Eisteddfodau have been held in Argentina since the initial Welsh settlement in the late 19th century. Competitions nowadays are bilingual, in Welsh and Spanish, and include poetry and prose, translations (Welsh, Spanish, English, Italian, and French), musical performances, arts, folk dances and photography
The Eisteddfod is not always held in Wales and has been held in England on a number of occasions! It was last held outside Wales in 1929, when it was held in Liverpool. Since 1880, the Eisteddfod has been held outside Wales six times; three times in Liverpool , twice in London and once in Birkenhead.
The judging panel are hard to impress! The coveted prize of the chair is withheld if the judges do not feel there is a worthy winner competing in the event. Judges have decided that no-one has been worthy of winning the Chair 16 times since 1880. The Chair has only been won once in Cardiff, when Hilma Lloyd Edwards was awarded the prize in 2008.
Ac Yn Olaf / And Finally...
We hope you've enjoyed our little stroll through Welsh culture this afternoon!
We loved another chance to look at the beautiful crown created by Anne in 2012. If you'd like to see more of Anne's work then the gallery is open again.
If you can't visit in person then please click our online shop - we have added a 20% discount code that you can redeem against anything you buy until August 10th.
Discount Code: Eisteddfod20
Diolch am ddarllen a dyn ni'n gobeithio i gweld chi cyn bo hir!
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon!
Anne & Team
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