Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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WILLIAMS , IOLO ANEURIN ( 1890 - 1962 ), journalist, author and art historian ;

b. 18 June 1890 in Middlesborough, Yorks. , son of Aneurin Williams , M.P. , ironmaster , and his wife Helen Elizabeth (née Pattinson ) . He m. in 1920 Francion Elinor Dixon of Colorado , U.S.A. , and they had one son and two daughters. He was educated at Rugby School and King's College , Cambridge . From 1914 to 1920 he served with or in the army , chiefly in France , and retired as captain . He was a man of wide interests, covering literature , bibliography , art , folk songs and natural history . Like his father, he was a keen Liberal , and was twice unsuccessful Parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Chelsea . At first he worked as bibliographical correspondent for the London Mercury ( 1920-39 ), and then as art and museums correspondent for the Times ( 1936 onwards). He became an authority on the history of art in Britain and published a substantial and important book, Early English watercolours ( 1952 ). He discussed the Welsh aspects of this subject in an article ‘ Paul Sandby and his predecessors in Wales ’ in Trans. Hon. Soc. Cymmrodorion ( 1961 , Part II ( 1962 ), 16-33). He was himself a discerning collector ; he presented 24 of his pictures to the British Museum and bequeathed 65 more to the institution.

His literary work is to be seen in numerous publications: volumes of poems ( 1915 and 1919 ), a bibliography of John Masefield ( 1921 ), Byways round Helicon ( 1922 ), Shorter poems of the eighteenth century ( 1923 ), Seven eighteenth-century bibliographies ( 1924 ). He edited the plays of Sheridan ( 1926 ), and wrote an unusual handbook, The elements of book collecting ( 1927 ). Other works by him were Poetry today ( 1927 ), Where the bee sucks ( 1929 ) and Points in eighteenth-century verse ( 1934 ). He contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography and to the Cambridge Bibliography of English literature . He was vice-president of the Bibliographical Society in 1944 , honorary secretary of the Folk Song Society — he wrote English folk song and dance ( 1935 ) — and vice-president of the Zoological Society of London . He wrote Flowers of marsh and stream ( 1946 ) and was an experienced field naturalist . He honoured the memory of his ancestor Iolo Morganwg ( Edward WILLIAMS , DWB , 1033-4) , a collection of whose papers he presented to the National Library of Wales , by taking a keen interest in Welsh matters , including the language, and he served on the Council of the National Museum of Wales and on the Welsh Committee of the Arts Council ; he was made an honorary member of the Gorsedd of Bards ( 1960 ). He d. 18 Jan. 1962 , and a tribute was paid to him by the Times , which referred to his tall, stooping, scholarly figure, indifferent to appearances. He was described as having Gladstonian rectitude, a stern radicalism and an almost fanatical support for temperance.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • The Times , 19 Jan. 1962 ;
  • personal research.

Author:

Donald Moore, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001