Oriel Mostyn art gallery
Mostyn art gallery, 12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno
The Mostyn Art Gallery is believed to be the world’s first purpose-built art gallery for female artists. Lady Augusta Mostyn, head of the local landowning Mostyn family, funded its construction for the public to view works by members of the Gwynedd Ladies’ Arts Society. She was president and patron of the society, whose members came from across Britain. Their gender barred them from membership of the Royal Cambrian Academy, which exhibited in Conwy.
The building was designed in 1900 by Mostyn estates’ architect, GA Humphreys, and began exhibiting in 1901. Its role as home to the Gwynedd Ladies’ Arts Society lasted only a few years. It closed in 1913 when it was requisitioned as a drill hall. Following various storage and commercial uses, it was requisitioned in 1939 and used during the Second World War for storage by the Inland Revenue. Meanwhile the American Medical Corps set up a café in the basement called the Do-nut Dug Out. There was a large contingent of Americans in Llandudno.
After the war, Wagstaff’s Piano and Music Galleries occupied the building. In 1976 the artist Kyffin Williams, and others, suggested the building should become the proposed new public art gallery for North Wales. Architects Colwyn Foulkes supervised its restoration and it reopened, as Oriel Mostyn, in 11 August 1979.
Relocation of Royal Mail facilities next door to the gallery paved the way for an expansion project, which lasted from 2007 to 2010. Ellis Williams Architects blended the old and new areas of the building, while the Victorian façade was refurbished. The main external change was a new golden spire of anodised aluminium tiles. The new interior makes striking use of concrete – including the desk in the shop!
Oriel Mostyn is established as Wales’ main gallery for contemporary art, from Wales and further afield. It receives financial support from the Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council’s art service and Llandudno Town Council.
Postcode: LL30 1AB