Art Collections Online

The Bard

JONES, Thomas (1742 - 1803)

Date: 1774

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 114.5 x 168.0 cm

Acquired: 1965; Purchase

Accession Number: NMW A 85

Poised on the edge of cliff clutching a harp, the last surviving bard places a curse on the English invaders before leaping to his death. This dramatic history painting has become iconic for Wales. Based on Thomas Gray’s poem The Bard, it recounts the tale of Edward I’s legendary massacre of the Welsh bards.

Bards were highly regarded in Welsh society at that time, and were thought to be descendants of the Celtic druids. Jones makes this connection by giving his Bard druidic features – a long white beard and hooded robe. The stone circle in the background, based on Stonehenge, emphasizes the antiquity of the druid. 

This is one of Jones’ early paintings in the grand manner, where the landscape is used as a background setting for a scene from history, literature or mythology. Jones regarded it as ‘one of the best I ever painted’.

Comments (3)

Comments are currently unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Claire C
20 April 2019, 20:38
Please please please could you put this indredible work back on display when the Da Vinci exhibition is finished, (which itself is fascinating and compelling - I would recommend anyone to attend). The Bard is so iconic, and a personal favourite. I did speak to staff at the museum today and they recommended that I should get in touch.
Many thanks and best wishes
Amgueddfa Cymru
22 April 2010, 17:25

Dear Gregory
Many thanks for your comment submitted through our Art Online website pages.

Your comment has brought to our attention a recent technical error on our website - 'The Bard' by Thomas Jones is in fact on public display at National Museum Cardiff.

We are working to resolve this problem and will update our website information as a matter of priority.

Sincere apologies for providing you with erroneous information.

If you would like to purchase a print of this work, please see our Print on Demand webpages []

Many thanks

Gregory Toth
19 April 2010, 17:44
To Whom It May Concern,

I was deeply sorry to realise that this fantastic work is not on display. The reason why I was planning to visit your Museum was to have a viewing at this stunning painting. However, as I employee at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, I fully understand, nothing can be displayed all the time. I was wondering whether it is possible to buy The Bard as a postcard. I might be able to find someone who can purchase it and send it back to me.

Best wishes,
Gregory Toth
Library Information Assistant
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