Artist’s ‘lockdown diary’ on display for the first time

Below Hay Bluff

Artist Philip Hughes presents a collection of daily paintings created during a period of the pandemic lockdown in 2020. 

Hughes explored the areas within walking distance of Craswell near the border of Wales and England, along the Monnow River, through mountain and fields, and along the Black Hill to Hay Bluff. Hughes notes: “The landscape is very special here. There are no ploughed fields, rather a series of grassy sheep fields with hedges which makes this agricultural pattern in the valley. Particularly special are the old drovers’ tracks which are marked with vertical stones which come out the geology here. And of course, the twisted old hawthorns, holly and ashes.” 

The exhibition includes 30 small works dated from April to May 2020. All the works are acrylic and gouache on paper. Seventeen larger works developed from this diary-style practice are also exhibited. In addition, one of his bound notebooks of observations will be on display. Hughes often works from notebooks that he takes with him everywhere he goes and in which he records and sketches what he sees. The notebook that he kept in Craswall is now in the National Collection at the British Museum. 

The collection of works will be on display during Herefordshire Art Week (h-Art) from Saturday 3 September to Sunday 13 September at Cabalva Farm Gallery near Hay-on-Wye, HR3 6EX.

Also showing are new works from Welsh landscape artist Daniel Crawshaw, steel sculptor Aragorn Dick-Reade, and animal sculptor Sally Matthews. 

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Coming 3 – 11 September 2022

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Previously shown at Cabalva Farm Gallery

September 2013 at the Gallery

Image: Gorgeous George by Tom Hallifax, oil, 120 x 120cm

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Sally Matthews’ ‘Hereford Bull’ in a cart shed at Cabalva Farm Gallery.  Welded steel frame with bracken and feathers.

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Back to the border

Above: View to Malvern by Antony Bridge

Previously shown at Cabalva Farm Gallery.

  • Antony Bridge, a plein air aficionado whose freshness comes from his love of painting outdoors
  • Hannah Firmin, who created the beloved book covers for Andrew McCall’s bestselling series No 1 Ladies Detective Agency
  • Eloise Govier, who brings a blast of hot pink passion from West Wales
  • Bill Kneale, who paints serene and confident landscapes of north Wales
  • Robert Macdonald, a deft watercolour and print master of Welsh scenes and folklore
  • Sally Matthews, known for her earthy sculptures of animals
  • Richard Renshaw, who creates brilliant stone forms from the Black Mountains
  • Rachel Wood, whose small bronzes of daily life simply burst with loveliness

Below:  The Lions by Hannah Firmin

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Previously Shown at Cabalva FarmGallery


(Eloise Govier’s canvas and coffee)

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Art on the border

Cabalva Farm Gallery presented its first exhibition ever in September 2011, as part of h.Art week, featuring new paintings and sculptures by Pat Birks, Shan Egerton, Joseph Galvin, Veronica Guest, Sally Matthews, Shelagh Popham, Susannah Royle, and Colin Simmonds.  The gallery holds periodic special exhibitions in a Georgian farmhouse with stunning views overlooking the River Wye and the Black Mountains, near Hay-on-Wye, the town of books.

Above image:   Zebra by Sally Matthews, life size steel

Below images:  oil paintings by Susannah Royle, oil paintings by Colin Simmonds and pottery by Pat Birks, portrait by Joe Galvin

Susannah Royle

Colin Simmonds and Pat Birks

Joe Galvin

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Tom’s Adventure Playground

Tommy Grahame was a wonderful little boy;  charming, intelligent, inquisitive and generous.  He loved to imagine that he was a pirate, and used to spend hours in his room with his Playmobil pirates planning complex campaigns and fighting battles.

Tommy died on 10th December 2010. He was just six years old.

Eighteen months earlier Tommy had been diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive brain tumour.  Tommy put up a very brave fight against the disease, enduring months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and endless hospital visits.  Tragically last summer the disease came back and Tommy died on December 10th in his mother’s arms in his bedroom on a day of brilliant sunshine over the Black Mountains.

Towards the end of his life Tommy visited the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Hyde Park.  Whilst he couldn’t charge around the pirate ship like other children, he nevertheless loved the experience and this has given us an idea for a suitable memorial in Tommy’s name.

We want to create a wonderful pirate-themed playground right here in our local area.   We have therefore set up a charitable trust, called the Tom Grahame Trust, to raise funds to build and maintain a new playground.

Tommy attended Clyro Church in Wales Primary School, not far from Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh borders.  We plan to build the playground near the school; it will be used both by children at Clyro School and all children in the community.

The centrepiece of the playground will be a replica pirate ship, with a mast, rigging and a plank.  We are currently investigating similarly themed playgrounds around the country to give us ideas, and the school children are getting involved with their ideas.   It’s a wonderful focus for their grief and loss of a classmate.

The idea is for children to have an exciting, safe, sustainable environment where they play at being pirates – or anything they want for that matter.  It will be just the sort of place where Tommy would have wanted to play.

We estimate that funds of about £70,000 are required to build the playground.  As of April we have raised £35,000 from amazingly generous people.  We have planned various fundraising events around Hay, including a stall at the Buttermarket (Saturday 21 May), a stand at the Hay Festival (26 May – 5 June), and a family music day at Cabalva in July.

Please do get involved and help in any way you can.   Share ideas to raise money – a sponsored bike ride or sale for example – let us know what you would like to do.  Donate items that we can sell at our fundraising events.  If they are pirate themed, so much the better!  Or write a cheque to The Tom Grahame Trust and send to Corisande and Angus Grahame, Lower Bettws, Whitney-on-Wye HR3 6EY.

Please do whatever you can, big or small; it will all help make our dream a reality that we can all enjoy.


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Hello from Cabalva Farm!

Welcome to Cabalva Farm.  We’ll be posting news about what’s going on at Cabalva Farm (like an upcoming art exhibition in the autumn), neat stuff about the area (like inside stories from the Hay Literary Festival), and links to websites we think you’ll like (see the list of  links on the right).  Please visit us again any old time.

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