Epilepsy Research UK is thrilled to be the chosen beneficiary charity of an upcoming auction of a painting by Sir Kyffin Williams (1918-2006). The portrait entitled “Willie” is thought to be a member of a local epilepsy support group attended by Sir Kyffin, whose life was also interrupted by epilepsy.
‘The Welsh Sale’ auction will take place on 24th July 2021 in Cardiff at auctioneers Rogers Jones & Co, who have kindly chosen to donate 5% of the sale price from the commission to Epilepsy Research UK. The estimated value of the painting is £15,000 – £25,000.
Sir Kyffin is considered to be the defining figure of 20th-century art in Wales and his work was largely inspired by the farmlands and landscapes of his home nation.
Sir Kyffin Williams RA – #ALifeInterrupted
Sir Kyffin Williams joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a lieutenant in 1937, but his military career was cut short after a series of seizures. However, this interruption is also the likely reason he became a full-time painter. Despite the disruption epilepsy caused to his life, Sir Kyffin famously later described his condition as his “greatest fortune”.
Following the series of seizures that left him hospitalised, Sir Kyffin wrote about his experiences in hospital and his unceremonious discharge from the military:
“The first test was the inevitable lumbar puncture. This was followed a few days later by the electro-encephalogram, the first machine of its kind to be assembled in this country. I sat in a wire-netting rabbit hutch and a strange permanent-wave machine hung above my head as terminals were attached to my ether-soaked hair. At the other end of the room, a girl pressed a switch, and a large metal hand started to draw a crazy graph on some paper pinned to the wall.
“The next day in came my doctor. ‘What are you going to do when you leave the army? … as in fact, you are abnormal, ‘ he announced. ‘I think it would be a good idea if you took up art’.”