Historical Swansea

Swansea boasts a fascinating and rich history. The Romans first extracted metal ores here and the Tudor years witnessed the birth of copper and tinplating industries. Swansea was an important metallurgical centre in Victorian times and known as the "Copper Kingdom". Vast reserves of coal were also discovered and Swansea's Port consequently grew in size and stature to be the equal of any other in the World at this time.

Swansea was home to hundreds of grand ocean-going wooden Brigantines and Barques that traded all manner of goods around Cape Horn to Chile in South America and most parts of the Globe.

A painting that I first saw as a schoolboy in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery by a wonderful victorian artist called William Callow, depicted the sea off Swansea Bay teeming with such craft as late as 1860.

The tiny, busy and noisy cove of Pwll-Du, (black hole), near Swansea, was declared by Oliver Cromwell, to be one of the most important commercial centres in the entire Kingdom. Here, quarried limestone and goods were shipped to North Devon and many Bristol Channel ports. Up to 5 large boats were at anchor here at any one time and 5 public houses were in service on the beach head and into the narrowing valley behind.

My paintings of this era seem to have developed as a one-a-year series mainly focusing on Oystermouth, a sea-side village near to Swansea, with its craft and the rough and colourful, sea-faring characters that once populated them and this village. From the oyster fishermen in their oyster dredgers working the Green Grounds, (for a staggering haul of 9,000,000 in one peak year around 1870), to the Mumbles Train, the World's first passenger train that skirted Swansea Bay, (in various forms), from its beginnings in the early 1800's to its sad and ill-decisioned demise in 1960, the area has captivated my imagination.

Few of the original paintings in this series remain but prints from them are available. Please check for availability.

Commissions are also frequently undertaken for this historical theme. Please contact me or view my "latest paintings" for painting availability and information.

Chris Last

The Old Smithy - w/col 16 x 12"

Chris Last

Sand Between the Toes - w/col

Chris Last

Sailors at the pool, Southend C.1810 - w/col

Chris Last

Oystermouth Square C.1860 - w/col

Chris Last

Unloading ship, Oystermouth, 1850 - w/col

Chris Last

Home with the cockles, Penclawdd - w/col 12 x 10"

Chris Last

Victorian Rhossili - w/col 16 x 12"

Chris Last

Victorian Girls - w/col

Chris Last

Mumbles train at Rutland Street - w/col 16 x 12"

Chris Last

Mumbles C.1800's - w/col

Chris Last

Oystermouth Square, 1850's - w/col

Chris Last

Fishing trip at Rhossili, 1900 - w/col 16 x 12"

Chris Last

'Secrets' - w/col 8 x 10"

Chris Last

Mumbles train at Southend, 1960 - w/col

Chris Last

Tarring the boats, Southend, 1850 - w/col 16 x 12"

Chris Last

Meeting the boat, C.1860 - w/col 9 x 6"

Chris Last

Seeing the ships off - w/col 8 x 12"