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Princes and Castles

The Legacy of Thirteenth Century Wales


With fourteen wood engravings by HILARY PAYNTER

Published by Gwasg Gregynog in September 2010

The castles of the Welsh princes,standing today in remote places invariably in ruinous state, have a distinctive presence in the historic landscape. They may not have the massive grandeur of the great castles built by Edward I to secure his conquest, yet rising from the rock on which they stand, their fortifications enhancing the natural defences of their sites, they too have a fascination that centuries of neglect have not diminished. Theirs is an essence captured by artists whose sense of history merges with legend and mythology as surely as the stonework before them blends with the land in an evocation of the picturesque.

This book sets out to explore the principal examples of the work of the thirteenth-century Welsh princes at Dolwyddelan, Castell y Bere, Dolbadarn, Castell Dinas Bran, Dolforwyn, Dinefwr, Castell Carreg Cennen as strategic defences and also to trace the developments in castle construction that they reveal. Together the princes' building works represent a substantial investment that created an impressive array of stone-built castles, the effectiveness of which was never tested. The conquest of 1282-83 was, perhaps, less a matter of military subjection than of political submission, but that cannot efface the resolve that inspired the castles' builders nor dispel the sense of princely status that even in their ruinous state these

J. BEVERLEY SMITH is Emeritus Sir John Williams Professor of Welsh History at Aberystwyth University and a former Chairman of the Ancient Monuments Commission for Wales. He is the author of a number of important publications on the political and social history of medieval Wales and also on medieval historiography. His authoritative study Llywelyn ap Gruffudd: Prince of Wales was published by the University of Wales Press in 1998.

HILARY PAYNTER was born in 1943 in Dunfermline and studied sculpture and wood engraving at Portsmouth College of Art. Instrumental in the revival of the Society of Wood Engravers, she was its lynchpin for over three decades. In 2006 she was elected President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. Her work is represented in the Ashmolean, Fitzwilliam and Victoria & Albert museums, the universities of London and Northumbria, and in city galleries in the UK. In September 2010 a major retrospective exhibition of her work opens at the Bankside Gallery to coincide with the launch of her new book, Full Circle.

IEUAN REES studied calligraphy and lettering at Camberwell School of Art and gained a Master of Design degree at the Royal College of Art in 1967. Since then he has earned a reputation as one of Britain's most versatile artist-craftsmen in the field ofvisual communication. A Fellow and past Chairman of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, and a Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy, his wide range of commissions include work for Buckingham Palace, The National Portrait Gallery, The National Assembly for Wales and MI5, as well as for private collectors.

CHRIS HICKS began his working life as a bookseller, but soon turned to bookbinding, producing work which covers all aspects of the craft. His fine bindings, examples of which are in major public and private collections, have been awarded prizes in a number of national competitions. He is a member of Designer Bookbinders and the Society of Bookbinders, and lives in rural Somerset.


Published in an edition limited to 200 numbered copies hand bound by Chris Hicks in quarter leather with printed cloth sides, and presented in a clothcovered slipcase. This landscape-format book and its binding are designed by Ieuan Rees, who has also been responsible for the calligraphy. The text is set in 16 point Monotype Bembo, and printed letterpress on Somerset Book Wovb 175 gsm pure cotton mouldmade paper. Hilary Paynter's 14 wood engravings — seven of which are full page size — are printed direct from the blocks and are also available as signed, limited edition prints. 72pp., 300 x 230mm.

ISBN 978 1 90722402 7

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A number of individual prints are available: Large (A4) £130, Small £65. Please contact us for details.

Price: £350 (Quarter Leather)
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£250 (Unbound)
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