Gordon Stuart painted this portrait of Dylan Thomas during three afternoons of sittings by the Welsh poet and playwright at his famous boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, in September 1953.

Stuart later recalled that Thomas ‘was a good subject and very kindly towards me and told me he was looking forward to going to America’. Thomas died on this trip to the US, aged only 39, just two months after this picture was painted.

The portrait is one of four oil sketches made by Stuart during the sittings. One is now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London, two are in the US, and this fourth version comes from the estate of the artist. Stuart considered it to be the most successful of the sketches and retained it for the rest of his life.

Born in Canada in 1924, Stuart studied art in Ontario before moving to England, where he continued his education at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. He later settled in Swansea, Wales, where he became known for his landscapes and portraits of prominent Welsh figures.

This last-known portrait of Thomas joins the collection at Carmarthenshire Museum, not far from the poet’s home where it was made.


The painting has been in continuous ownership of the artist and his family and is being sold by the artist's estate.

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