Article by Sucheta Chaurasia 6th April 2024

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, the public art gallery in Swansea city, is celebrating 25 years of the Wakelin Award. This year to commemorate the award, the gallery will showcase an exhibition of the works of the past award winners. Established in 1988, the Wakelin Award was founded in memory of Richard and Rosemary Wakelin, two Swansea-based artists. The award is given to a Welsh artist working in Wales. The artworks of the artists are purchased and displayed in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection.

Dr Peter Wakelin, the son of the two artists, said: “When we set up the Award after my mother died in 1998, we thought it would be something our parents would have enjoyed because of their love of the Glynn Vivian,  and it would last for a few years. We never guessed that the scheme would continue to be so worthwhile for a quarter of a century. It’s fantastic to look back at all the artists. The Award has supported in that time and the wealth of works that have been added to the Glynn Vivian collection to be enjoyed by the people of Swansea.”

The painting ‘Looking at Cold Winter’ (2001) by David Tress (b.1955) won the Wakelin Award in 2001


Artwork ‘Mair at Cylch Meithrin’ (2020), comprising acrylic, wool and synthetic hair on hessian, made by Anya Paintsil (b. 1993) won the Wakelin Award in 2020

Louise Burston, Chair of the Friends of the Glynn Vivian, the independent charity that supports the art gallery, remarked: “The Friends are very pleased to be involved with such a prestigious award. It is heartening


‘Six Jugs’ (2012) by Philip Eglin (b. 1959)




to be able to support Welsh artists and contribute towards the gallery’s contemporary collection of art, it’s always fascinating to see whose work the nominated selector will choose. Over the years the award has gone to a splendidly  diverse selection of artists from different disciplines and at different stages in their  careers.”

Karen MacKinnon, Curator, of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, is glad that the Wakelin Award has won the Wakelin Award in 2017helped the gallery to acquire some great works for its permanent collection. He adds: “This unique partnership between the Wakelin family and the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is very special in the support it offers the  gallery, artists in Wales and the works it enables us to share with audiences and  communities.”

Artwork ‘Mair at Cylch Meithrin’ (2020), comprising acrylic, wool and synthetic hair on hessian, made by Anya Paintsil (b. 1993) won the Wakelin Award in 2020

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is part of Swansea Council and is supported by a grant from the Arts Council of Wales. The Award is supported and administered by the Friends of the Glynn Vivian and generous donations from its well-wishers.

For more information about the exhibition, interested individuals can contact Laura Gill at 01792 516900 or email More information about the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and its various events is available on their website at

Address: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DZ

Richard and Rosemary Wakelin

Richard Wakelin (1921–1987) and Rosemary Culley (1919–1998) were pioneers of the Swansea art scene from the late 1950s. Originally from Cardiff, they both met while attending the Welsh School of Architecture in 1939. After that, they enlisted in the armed forces to serve in the war. They got married in 1947. Richard worked as an architect in private practice and later with the City Council which included taking care of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery). Although they both created abstract paintings, they valued all kinds of craftsmanship and art. The Swansea Art Society, the Association of Artists and Designers in Wales, the 74 Guild of Artist Craftsmen, the Welsh Group, and the Friends of the Glynn Vivian were among the institutions they worked with to promote the visual arts.

They were partners in the Maritime Quarter’s Swansea Arts Workshop, which is now the Mission Gallery. They desired to increase Swansea residents’ appreciation of the arts and to support and uplift gifted artists and craftspeople. Andrew Wakelin, Sally (together with her daughter Kate), and Peter Wakelin are their three living children. The couple’s eldest son Martin passed away in 2012, leaving behind his wife Christine Townley and daughter Megan, who are still interested in the prize.

Friends of Glynn Vivian

The Friends of Glynn Vivian association was founded in 1958 and has grown significantly since then. It is a self-governing nonprofit that is totally governed by its members, who also contribute to the acquisition of new pieces that broaden the Gallery’s collection and fund its programming. This vibrant organisation hosts lectures, behind-the-scenes tours, and social gatherings among its events. The Friends are always excited to have new members join them. To learn more about joining, go to