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John Martin, 1789–1854, British

The Bard

ca. 1817
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 inches (127 x 101.6 cm) and 57 × 47 inches (144.8 × 119.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
army | banners | bard | cape | castle | cliffs | clouds | eagles (birds) | historical subject | king (person) | landscape | lyre | mountains | poet | river | rocks (landforms) | soldiers
Associated Places:
Conway | Cymru | United Kingdom | Wales
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

After his conquest of Wales, the thirteenth-century English King Edward I was said to have ordered the massacre of all the Welsh bards. Following Thomas Gray’s treatment of the legend in his celebrated poem “The Bard: A Pindaric Ode” (1757), John Martin shows the sole survivor clutching his harp while cursing the king and his army before hurling himself to his death from a rocky crag. The popularization of the bard as a champion of independence and liberty against tyranny gained tremendous currency in the romantic period.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Art in Focus : The British Castle - A Symbol in Stone (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-04-07 - 2017-08-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Art in Focus : Wales (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-04-04 - 2014-08-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Nobleness and Grandeur - Forging Historical Landscape in Britain, 1760 - 1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 2005-01-27 - 2005-04-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Art, Lux, et Veritas 2012, Personal Responses to Collections at Yale , Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 2012, pp. 28-31, V 2414:2 [ORBIS]

Thomas Balston, John Martin, 1799-1854, his life and works., G. Duckworth, London, 1947, pp. 36, 43, 45, 66, NJ18 M39 B35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 156-157, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ronald Hutton, Blood and mistletoe, the history of the Druids in Britain , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009, fig. 21, BL910 .H88X 2009 (LSF) [ORBIS]

Barbara C. Morden, John Martin : Apocalypse Now!, , Northumbria University Press, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2010, p. 27, NJ18 M39 +M67 2010 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Martin Myrone, John Martin, apocalypse , Tate Publishing, London, 2011, p. 76, NJ18.M39 A12 2011 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, pp. 51-2 (v.1), no. 188, pl. 36, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 97, no. 152, pl. 129, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA) [YCBA]

The British Castle : A Symbol in Stone, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2017, pp. 26-27, cat. 19, V2722 [ORBIS]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 44, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Wales, New Haven, 2014, p. 21, V2519 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 36 (v.1), no. 131, pl. 36, ND466 Y35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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