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New book and exhibition celebrate art curators David Bell and Kathleen Armistead

The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art (RCA) is proud to announce the publication of a new book by its vice president (south Wales) Dr Ceri Thomas, titled Shaping Art in Wales: David Bell, Kathleen Armistead and the Modern Artist. The book, published by the H’mm Foundation and distributed by the Welsh Books Council, explores the life and work of two influential Wales-based curators, David Bell and Kathleen Armistead, who shaped the modern art scene in Wales and beyond.

New book and exhibition celebrate art curators David Bell and Kathleen Armistead

Published: 09.11.2023 ( 6 months ago )

The book launch took place on 10 November 2023, at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, alongside a complementary exhibition, Shaping Wales: Bell and Armistead.

The exhibition, guest curated by Dr Thomas, featured paintings, sculptures, and drawings by artists ranging from those born or based in Wales (John Addyman, Joan Baker, David Bell, Ferdinand Cirel, Glenys Cour RCA, Ogwyn Davies RCA, John Elwyn, Josef Herman, J D Innes, Alfred Janes, Augustus John PRCA, Gwen John, Colin Jones, Jonah Jones, Ron Lawrence, Eric Malthouse, Peter Nicholas, Ceri and Frances Richards, Will Roberts RCA, Jack Waldron, Evan Walters, Kyffin Williams PRCA, Ernest Zobole) to those based elsewhere (Karel Appel, Jacob Epstein, Sam Francis, Mark Gertler, Barbara Hepworth, Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Raymond Moore, Paul Nash, Cheong Soo Pieng, John Piper, Lucie Rie, Stanley Spencer, Mike Tyzack, Carel Weight, Austin Wright).

The book launch included speeches by Dr Thomas and the publisher Ali Anwar, plus members of the Bell family.

Dr Thomas said: “I am delighted to share this book and exhibition with the art lovers of Wales and beyond. David Bell and Kathleen Armistead were remarkable individuals who contributed greatly to the development of modern art in Wales. They were also mentors and friends to many artists, including some RCA members, who continue their legacy today. I hope this book and exhibition will inspire more people to discover and appreciate their work.”

The RCA is also pleased to announce that a new exhibition on David Bell and Wales as Environment, curated by Dr Thomas, will come to the RCA gallery in Conwy March 2024, along with Dr Thomas’s book. The exhibition will showcase how Bell’s art was influenced by the natural and cultural environment of Wales, and how he in turn influenced other artists to engage with the Welsh landscape and identity.

For more information about the book, the exhibition, and the RCA, please visit the following websites:

Shaping Wales: Bell and Armistead (


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