Peter Blake’s Illustrations

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St David’s is in the far west of Wales, a cathedral city considered to be the early centre of Christianity in Wales. It is a very busy tourist area, narrow streets through the town and few places to park. But, the new visitor centre just a few 100 metres along the Solva Road has parking and is a brilliant starting point to explore the town. It is newly built, well designed with spacious courtyard, exhibition areas and galleries, and nice clean loos. It is also wheelchair friendly. We went specifically to see the exhibition of Peter Blake’s illustrations for the fictional town of Llareggub in ‘Under Milk Wood’. It was originally written by Dylan Thomas as a radio play to be read aloud by actors. But, if you have never seen it performed, the recent TV adaptation was a glorious celebration of the skill of the poet – this is from a long term sceptic I might add! If you just read the first few lines with the black, crow, black black etc etc you couldn’t be blamed for thinking what a load of tosh. But the interpretation featuring Tom Jones as the blind sea captain, and Katherine Jenkins as Polly Garter who loved Little Willy Wee the best, was the most lyrical and entertaining version I have seen (though sadly only broadcast in Wales for some reason). Peter Blake’s exhibition is a must see if you are interested in literature, history of art, illustration and especially collage. You may not recognise his name, but Sir Peter Blake designed the cover of the Beatle’s Sergeant Pepper album and this set of new images uses similar collage techniques. It is the first time the illustrations have all been shown together (he has been working on them for more than 20 years) and they do look impressive when seen as a complete series. As the centenary year of Dylan Thomas’ birth, there are many events going on and if you live outside Wales, it is worth looking online to see some of these images. Oriel y Parc, St David’s, Pembrokeshire.

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