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Davies, Gwendoline
Davies, Gwendoline
Gwendoline Davies, 1882-1951
Patron
Elizabeth Gwendoline Davies was a Welsh philanthropist and patron of the arts. Together with her sister Margaret, she is recognised as the most influential collector of Impressionist and 20th-century art in Wales. The sisters were independently wealthy, their fortune inherited from the businesses created by their grandfather, the industrialist David Davies. Gwendoline was born at Llandinam, her father Edward being the only son of David Davies. Her brother, also David Davies, was elevated to the Peerage as 1st Baron Davies in 1932.

Gwendoline and Margaret created one of the most important private collections of art in Britain and donated or bequeathed their total of 260 works to what is now the National Museum Wales in the mid-20th century. Although Margaret was herself a competent artist, the sisters' lasting contribution is as collectors, especially of French art, their interest in which can be traced back to travels in France before the First World War. From 1908 until the early 1920s they bought regularly, with the assistance of Hugh Blaker, brother of their former governess and Curator of the Holburne Museum, Bath. In 1926 they bought P112 View in Windsor Great Park, later bequeathed to the National Museum Wales.

Gwendoline and Margaret Davies purchased the mansion of Gregynog just after the First World War, and set up an arts centre there. In 1923 they launched the Gregynog Press, printing fine limited editions in both English and Welsh. From 1933 to 1938 they sponsored the Gregynog Music Festival and in 1937 Gwendoline Davies was made a Companion of Honour.
National Museum Wales
13/06/2018