John Humphreys, 1870
Ink and watercolour, 64 x 82 cm, 64 x 82 cm
PZ 3036, PZ 3038

Our small collection of chapel drawings reflects the fact that in general such works are rare. Designs for Libanus date from a time of intense chapel building and the growth of Morriston as an industrial and urban centre. The building displays the dominant chapel style of the period of tall round-headed windows. The architect and minister visited many chapels and churches around the country seeking ideas, many of which they incorporated into Libanus. This chapel, now more famously known as Tabernacle cost more than £15,000 to build, and seating 3,000 has been called the 'Nonconformist Cathedral of Wales'. Listed grade 1 as perhaps the most ambitious grand chapel in Wales, its interior and fittings remain virtually unaltered.

From the mid nineteenth century chapels were increasingly designed by professional architects. Of these, John Humphreys of Swansea was amongst the better known in Wales. An unique and characteristic feature of his work was the use of semi-circular arches, instead of a horizontal architrave to unite the columns over the entrance portico. This mannerism appears in the arches spanning the twinned uppermost windows of Libanus.


Richard Wynn Owens, 1908
Ink and watercolour, 41 x 70 cm
PE 4484

One of a series of similar designs for a small chapel at Rhosesmor, near Mold, by Owens of Liverpool produced at the end of the epoch of fervent chapel building and at a time when professional architects were commonly entrusted with chapel commissions.


A. F. Mortimer, ca. 1980s
Ink and watercolour, 22 x 30 cm
PG 3927

This Meirionethshire chapel at Glan Mawddach, Barmouth dates from 1806 and comes from a large collection of ink and watercolour drawings featuring Welsh chapels of various denominations, 1717 - 1928. They are exclusivly the work of Commander A.F. Mortimer who presented them to the Library. Meirionethshire chapels constitute the largest group and are the result of a pilot survey by CAPEL, the Chapels Heritage Society.

Commander Mortimer's earlier drawings predominantly feature the chapels of northern Montgomeryshire, in the vicinity of his Llanfyllin home. Depicted are front and side elevations, and/or ground floor plans based on detailed surveys and numerous photographs.


Charlotte Louisa Traherne, 1836 - 56
Ink, wash and watercolour, 33 x 23 cm
PZ 293

A record of Llanfair Chapel, St. Mary Church, Glamorgan, 1837,. 'now pulled down'. This drawing volume entitled Architectural and Antiquarian Scraps contains a wealth of wash drawings and watercolours of antiquities, churches, their interiors and details in South Wales, England and Italy. Some of these may be by S.M. Traherne. Charlotte Louisa Traherne, an amateur artist, was also responsible for a fine portrait of Iolo Morgannwg now held by the National Museum of Wales.


Reverend John Parker, 1838
Ink and watercolour, 48 x 36 cm
44 Va, 44 Vb

Religious architecture predominates in the works of The Reverend John Parker, an amateur architect, artist and botanist who was Rector at Llanmyrewig, near Newtown and Vicar at Llanyblodwel, near Oswestry. He added a tower and porch to Llanmyrewig Church and rebuilt the church at Llanyblodwel. He designed many other buildings in the Early English style. His volumes contain perspective and architectural drawings and notes relating to Welsh, British and European places and buildings visited by him, from the 1820s - 60s. These encompass details, ornamentation and interiors of churches and abbeys in Wales and the borders together with views of some of the larger houses in North and Mid Wales.


Reverend John Parker, ca. 1840
Ink and watercolour, 9 x 11 cm, 11 x 9 cm
PZ 7548/a, PZ 7544, PZ 7545

Valle Crucis Abbey, founded in 1200 by the Cistercians suffered a fate similar to many monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII. In 1536 it was amongst the first of the abbeys to be dissolved. The imposing remains of the Abbey Church on the outskirts of Llangollen comprise the nave with aisles, choir and two transepts, each with its aisle and chapels and a short presbytery. Most of the Church was built during the early thirteenth century, although stages of construction spanning the entire century can be identified. The west end of the Church depicted in the bottom pictures is in the Early English style developed during the first seventy years of the Abbey's construction. The age and styles of the Abbey's architecture are shown in a ground plan by Roland Paul, 1899 [NLW, PB 5829] which is not exhibited.


Henry Kennedy, 1877
Ink and watercolour, 35 x 52 cm
PD 9709

Produced for the benefit of masons involved in the restoration of this Caernarfonshire church, new and old stonework is unambiguously identified. This example is from a comprehensive collection relating to Abererch Church from a well known Bangor practice. The new church of St. Peter's was built in the 1830s.

Very little church building was undertaken in seventeenth and eighteenth century Wales and many churches fell into decay and ruin. Steadfast church building and restoration dates from the early nineteenth century and revived medieval styles. Such was the enthusiasm for church rebuilding that in some areas there are few churches with features predating the 1850s.


Nicholson and Son, 1891 - 92
Ink and watercolour, 46 x 59 cm
PG 4205

Whilst less detailed and specific than the drawings for the restoration of Abererch Church it is apparent from these overviews that the most exposed and west-facing parts of Patrisio or Partrishow Church near Abergavenny needed considerable attention at this time. The distressed elements are picked out in red, together with a substantial open drain.

This church is home to one of Wales's most attractive screens.


J. Coates Carter and John P. Seddon, ca. 1890
Ink and wash, 34 x 47 cm, 35 x 48 cm
PG 2426/1a-b

The church of St. Oudoceus (Dochau), Llandogo, between Chepstow and Monmouth was erected on the site of an older building. Gothic in style and very typical of its period its chancel is heavily decorated with marble and alabaster. The architect John Pollard Seddon is most famously linked with the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, 1864. However, much of his work concerned gothic revival churches, parsonages and schools in South Wales between 1852 and 1903. In partnership with John Prichard from 1852 to 1863 Seddon specialised in church restoration in Monmouthshire. He gained a reputation for loving restoration and also solving complex structural problems such as stabilising church towers. After leaving Prichard he increasingly concentrated on the restoration and the design of furniture, metalwork, stained glass and tiles, leaving much of the architectural work to a series of partners and collaborators.

He took into partnership John Coates Carter between 1884 and 1904. Carter described Seddon as 'the most original of the Gothic revivalists', for in his designs it was 'impossible to trace the origin of the detail to any particular medieval style or building'. Our 'Carter and Seddon' collection mainly include drawings and sketches for prospective churches in and near South Wales, together with houses, furniture, interior fittings and ornaments, ca. 1865 - 1906.


John B. Mendham, 1926
Ink and watercolour, 70 x 105 cm
PE 5132/17

Gothic influences prevail in these designs of 1926 for St Cynon's, Friog or Fairbourne near Barmouth. . These very traditional influences are especially apparent in the window traceries, illustrated in quarter size. See also the contemporary postcard photograph. This church was built at an unusual time possibly because of demand from an expanding population brought about by retirement and tourism to this scenic area. The Fairbourne Miniature Railway established in 1916 on the bed of the Fairbourne Tramway also helped to boost this locality's popularity.

Other drawings and photographs held in the Library associated with ecclesiastical architect Mendham include churches in Surrey and Sussex.


George G. Pace, 1956
Ink on tracing paper, 72 x 99 cm
George G. Pace Collection (1/62)

Works by Pace, the ecclesiastical architect of York solely concern the restoration and rebuilding of Llandaff Cathedral, 1949 - 75, in the aftermath of Second World War enemy bombing. This challenging project involved the creation of a new cathedral from the shell of a building which resembled a parish church.

The drawings encompass both small- and large-scale designs, ranging from general plans to the minutiae of fixtures in the Cathedral and its buildings. The majority date from the period 1955 - 69. The best known and most important new work in the Cathedral is the pulpitum, traditionally a stone screen dividing the choir from the nave. This twentieth century structure reflects Pace's view of 'each age working to its taste'. The pulpitum houses the echo organ and is fronted by Sir Jacob Epstein's Majestas in unpolished aluminium.

Pace collected a stream of Welsh commissions as word of his work spread. He developed much affection for this land's indigenous churches and actively promoted their appreciation, study and conservation.

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