Cardiff City Council has granted consent for a new commercial development that has destroyed a key piece of public art in the Welsh capital. This decision was taken without any consultation with experts in the field. Now developers have destroyed Thomson House and with it ‘An Eye for the People’, by Ray Howard Jones, 1959. This fantastic artwork had graced the exterior of Thomson House, the headquarters of the Western Mail, for nearly half a century. At 35 feet high, the mosaic, constructed in Italy, was much-loved by locals and was a landmark for anyone visiting the city.
This is a sad and unnecessary loss that shames both Cadw and the city council – who both should have acted to preserve the mural.
Dr Lynn Pearson, architectural historian, author and the UK’S foremost expert on post-war murals says:
“The Cardiff mosaic with its vibrant colours was a glorious example of post-war mural art – fine art triumphantly transposed to a public space. Sited in the Welsh capital, carried out by an artist who was unique inspired by Wales, the artwork conveyed in abstract form, images redolent of the Welsh countryside in much of her work. It was an integral part of post-war Wales. Its destruction was pure vandalism. Now this has gone, nothing is safe.”
The C20 Society is due to launch a website at the beginning of December, celebrating the best post-war murals in the country, this magnificent mural was due to be the Welsh representative on the site – but has gone before the site was completed. We will still be adding it to the site as a reminder that senseless acts like this are still happening –perhaps the sad loss of ‘An Eye for the People’ will make people keep an eye out for other murals at risk.
For further images or information, please contact Jon Wright at the Twentieth Century Society on 020 7250 3857 or by email – jon.wright(at)c20society.org.uk