Dyffryn House – Foundations from CoalPosted: February 14, 2015
Foundations from Coal
My current practice centres around my interest in geology and how the traces left on rocks can tell a story. The geology of coal involves a complicated creation that takes millions of years to form. It can be seen as a gift and a curse given to Wales in that it created wealth for the country but at a great human cost with much of it hidden deep underground and thinly layered making it particularly hard to extract.
My work is a reflection of the wealth from which Dyffryn House was built.
John Cory followed in his father Richard’s footsteps to become an influential figure in the export of coal from Wales and with his brother they expanded the business, naming it Cory Brothers and Co. John Cory was a founder of the Port of Barry which became a rival to Cardiff’s port and was much needed as the demand for coal expanded. They owned collieries and exported coal to over 120 ports around the world, which made them incredibly wealthy men. John and his son Reginald used their riches to build the house and grounds at Dyffryn.
Today the dilapidated parts of the house provoke a sense of loss, which is mirrored within the coal industry. With the decline of the welsh coal mining industry in the 21st century, the ‘floating’ coal is here to act as a reminder of the past. It has been lifted into the air to evoke the sense of coal being extracted from within the earth and to show a ghostly presence of an industry that became so significant to Wales.
The paintings recognise the contribution of the miners to the coal mining industry and the vast wealth it generated.