Dyffryn Gardens' paintings appeal

The imprisoned Soul, Margarte Lindsay Wiliams

A collection of 4 paintings by renowned Welsh artist Margaret Lindsay Williams has been discovered at Dyffryn House and Gardens.

An exciting discovery

The unexpected nature of this discovery is an exciting development but unfortunately we do not have the funds to restore the work so we need to fundraise to restore all 4 paintings. 

The most notable is ‘The Imprisoned Soul’, it was found tucked away and leaning against a wall in the White Library. It is oil on canvas, signed and dated Margaret Lindsay Williams 1920 and measures approx. 5 x 6 feet but no longer has its frame.

It is a striking painting that depicts a woman tempted by material things. Skeleton hands hold a tempting tray of jewels while her soul is locked away in a prison cell. The subject holds a dagger to her throat at the same point where the painting has a large tear. It is part of a body of Williams’s work that reflected dark and religious themes and caused political controversy, following her focus on death in the Great War.

The other three paintings were discovered in a back room behind the kitchen. They are also oil on canvas but are perhaps designed as part of an interior decoration scheme rather than as individual paintings. All four paintings have been moved to safe and condition controlled storage.

Who was Margaret Lindsay Williams?

Margaret Lindsay Williams (1888-1960) was a highly successful and well regarded Welsh artist .She was commissioned to paint members of the Royal Family such as King George V, Queen Mary, Queen Alexandria, The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1921 she painted the American President Warren G Harding, and became the first female artist represented in Washington, D.C.'s National Portrait Gallery of Presidents.

Other notable sitters for her portraits include Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

At 18 she went to study at The Royal Academy of Art in London.  Her first ‘big break’ occurred whilst a student there, she painted a miniature of the then Prince of Wales which was purchased by Queen Mary thus creating a demand for her portrait painting.

At 23 she became the youngest artist ever to win the gold medal from the Royal academy in 1921 for her piece: ‘The City of Refuge’.

The Imprisoned Soul of 1920 is one of a number of imaginative works Williams painted with religious overtones, notably The Devil's Daughter in 1917, The Triumph in 1918,  and The Menace from 1925.

How to get involved

These paintings are in a dire condition with holes, tears and punctures to every piece. We urgently need your donations to restore them for future generations to enjoy. 

Please donate today.

The imprisoned Soul, Margarte Lindsay Wiliams

Save Dyffryn Gardens' fragile paintings 

Help us save three paintings by notable Welsh artist Margaret Lindsay Williams that are in desperate need of repair.