Saturday, 3 October 2009

Salem and hidden things in the picture.

This is a very famous Welsh painting called"Salem" painted by Sidney Curnow Vosper in 1908. It hangs on our wall here at home and before that it hung on my Welsh Mother-In-Laws wall as a reminder of her Welsh heritage. It was painted in the tiny Baptist Chapel called Salem in Cefncymera, Llanbedr, near Harlech in North Wales. While we were up in Wales we drove up into the hills to see it.
It is said that you can see the devils face in her shawl ( the nose is the sitting lady's hands) and if you look closely there is a hint of a little girl looking through the window. Click on the picture to get a better look!

When you open the door it is exactly as the painting, the only thing missing is Sian Owen who was the lady standing in the foreground. All the people in the painting were real people except for the seated lady in the red shawl just behind Sian who was a tailors dummy and the head is again Sian Owen in profile! Apparently the little boy, Evan Edward Lloyd was frightened of the dummy and would not go near it.

This is the Chapel from outside, completely unspoilt, no charge to go in, no shop, no tat. What a refreshing change! They used to baptise folk in the pool in the river that runs just below the chapel.

This is another painting by the same artist which also hangs on our wall of the same Sian Owen getting home from market in her kitchen.


Teresa said...

Beautiful pictures of the slate quarry and such an interesting story of your paintings. Thanks for sharing - very interesting reading.

Bovey Belle said...

I know the Salem picture well as it often turns up in auction and car boot sales and antique shops in these parts (not surprising really, since I'm in Wales!) I didn't know the background to it though, and that was very interesting, as were the photographs of where it was originally painted. Thankyou.

Karen said...

I've never heard of this painting and thought your post very interesting. I like the paintings and its so cool that you got to take a photo of the chapel.

theARE said...

Sian Owen is actuall my Great-great-great Grandmother.

Nice to know you had a nice trip. Havent been to Salem since I was a boy, but I do fancy making a trip there soon. And yeah I have both paintings in my home as well.

I always joke that my Great-great-great Grandmother is Wales's number 1 pinup, and considering the amount of homes she appears in it's probably true :-)

Goosey said...

That's fantastic to have such a slice of Welsh history in your family. We bought a little book about the painting while we were there in Harlech tourism office which is where I got the info from!

Gwyn Williams said...

The little boy in the painting Evan Edward Lloyd is my great grandad. Im so proud and humbled that he was a part of the iconic welsh painting.

Goosey said...

How amazing to have such a record of your Great Grandad, you should indeed be proud. We have moved house since I wrote this and the pictures came with us, great memories of my Mother in laws Welsh heritage, she was from Snowdonia.