Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUGHES , HUGH ( 1790 - 1863 ), artist and author ;

b. at Pwll-y-gwichiad , Llandudno (christened 20 Feb. 1790 ), son of Thomas and Jane Hughes , and educated in a school kept by his grandfather Hugh Williams at Meddiant , Llansantffraid-Glan-Conwy . His mother d. in 1802 , and his father shortly afterwards at Liverpool , where Hugh Hughes learned wood-engraving and oil-painting ; the first known work of his is the portrait of John Evans , Bala ( 1723 - 1817 ) (q.v.) , which was printed in Y Drysorfa , 1812 . He toured Wales in 1819-21 , making sketches ; the English portions ( 1819-20 ) of his journals describing his tour were printed in Wales (O.M.E.) , iii, and the Welsh ( 1820-1 ) in Cymru (O.M.E.) , viii. In 1823 , he published his best-known work, The Beauties of Cambria , sixty plates. The work was got together at Meddiant , but Hughes had already formed an acquaintance with David Charles ( 1762 - 1834 ) (q.v.) at Carmarthen , and now began to publish books and magazines at that town; Yr Hynafion Cymreig , 1823-4 ; Yr Addysgydd , 1823-4 ; and Brut y Cymry , 1824 , (one number only). On 20 Feb. 1827 he m. Charles 's daughter Sarah , and they went to live in London ( Soho ). But in 1828 a storm broke over Hughes 's head. He had signed (with Thomas Edwards , 1779 - 1858 , q.v. , and others) a petition in favour of Catholic emancipation . John Elias (q.v.) ordered Jewin Calvinistic Methodist church to excommunicate the petitioners who were among its members, and the expulsion was confirmed by the two Calvinistic Methodist associations . Hughes was already a Liberal , but he now became an out-and-out Radical . He joined the Independents (later on he became a Plymouth Brother ), and published in Seren Gomer , 1828 , a scathing attack upon the Calvinistic Methodist authorities and particularly upon John Elias — the articles were re-issued in pamphlet form, Y Trefnyddion a'r Pabyddion . Later (in Seren Gomer , 1830-2 ), under the pen-name ‘ Cristion ,’ he battled with Evan Evans , Ieuan Glan Geirionydd ( 1795 - 1856 ) (q.v.) on tithe, churchrate, and Church establishment in general. He continued for a while to live in London (a lecture of his to the Cymreigyddion Society is printed in Seren Gomer , 1831 ), but by 1835 he was living at Caernarvon , assisting William Williams ( Caledfryn , 1801 - 1869 , q.v.) in bringing out Y Seren Ogleddol , and issuing the short-lived Papur Newydd Cymraeg , 1836 . After that, he lived at Chester ( 1839 ), Barmouth ( 1841 ), Aberystwyth , and finally Malvern , where he d. 11 March 1863 . His quite numerous publications during his later career included an edition (with memoir) of his father-in-law David Charles 's sermons, and many pictures and caricatures — notably caricatures dealing with the Welsh Education Commission of 1846-7 .

Sources:

  • Enwogion Sir Gaernarfon , 1922 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • NLW MSS 1890, 6358;
  • other references given above.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959