Monday, January 30, 2006

Evan Morgan, Viscount Tredegar talk (25 Feb)

Perhaps the most colourful member of the Morgan family was Evan Morgan, 2nd Viscount Tredegar. The last member of the line to live at Tredegar House, Evan lived a life of great eccentricity and adventure. His week-end house parties at Tredegar in the 1930s and 40s gained much local notoriety. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets (including a bear named 'Alice', an anteater, and the talented 'Somerset', a boxing kangaroo) Evan, often with his 'familiar', a mischievous macaw named 'Blue Boy' (see above) perched imperiously on one shoulder, entertained on a lavish scale. Among the many artistic, literary and society figures that enjoyed his princely hospitality at Tredegar House were HG Wells, Aldous Huxley, Augustus John, Nancy Cunard, Ivor Novello and the 'Great Beast' himself, the occultist Aleister Crowley.

I am giving an illustrated talk on Evan's life at 10:45am on Saturday 25 February, at the Reardon Smith Theatre in Cardiff for the Friends of the National Museum and Galleries of Wales. All guests are welcome and can pay on the door (tickets £5), so if you are interested in learning more about the life of one of South Wales' greatest eccentrics, please come along.

Friday, January 27, 2006

'Unexplored Tredegar'

I returned to Tredegar House yesterday for the first time since Christmas to find the place full of the song of whistling workmen, and scaffolding dominating the stairwell. The stairwell is being re-painted in Indian Yellow. The Best Chamber is also being re-painted, and it is only really when furniture is taken out of a room at Tredegar, that you can appreciate just how large the rooms are.

I have started working on an 'Unexplored Tredegar' tour, which is likely to be incorporated into the events programme for the new season. The tour will include the attics (servant's bedrooms), Linen Room, Nursery Wing, Cellars, Medieval Wing (above the Servant's Hall), The Stables, Baking Ovens, and will end in the Brewhouse where visitors can recover with a cream tea (which may be included in the tour price). It will give the public a chance to see parts of the House that they would not normally see.