Wilkins Cox, OBE, KBE, RA, RCA (born 8 July 1942) is a Welsh landscape painter who lived at llanwynno, Rhondda Fach. Cox is widely regarded as one of the defining artist of Wales during the 20th century. Known chiefly for his abstracted landscapes of the Welsh countryside, expressively painited in thick impasto and thin washes of colour.
Early Life & Career
Cox was born in the village of Lannwynno in 1942. He was educated at Porth Grammar School, before spending five years training at the Cardiff College of Art. After leaving Cardiff College, he spent a year travelling in Asia returning to study at masters level at Goldsmiths College – University of London from 1966-7. In the summer of 1967, he returned permanently to Wales and has since lived and worked in his home nation.
Cardiff from Penyllan
His painting Llanwynno Nights was bought by the National Gallery of Australia for $1 million. The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery mounted a major exhibition of 27 paintings covering the whole period of Cox’s working life to date. The following year the National Museum in Cardiff presented the exhibition Wilkins Cox on Wales. The exhibition comprised around 80 drawings and paintings done between 1970 and 1995.
As an Artist
Cox’s works typically draw inspiration from the Welsh industrial, post-industrial landscapes and farmlands. His works appear in many galleries all over Britain and is on permanent exhibition in National Museum in Cardiff, the Glynn Vivian and the Oriel Ynys Môn, Anglesey. He was appointed a memberships of the Royal Cambrian Academy in 1979 and the Royal Academy in 1984, but remains bitter by refusals of membership to the Welsh Group.
In 2000, Cox received the Glyndŵr Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales during the Machynlleth Festival. He was awarded the OBE for his services to the arts in 1995 and a KBE in 1999.
Painting from life, Cox is apt to spend a great deal of time with one subject. A landscape completed in 2007 required sixteen months of work; with each session averaging five hours, the painting took approximately 2,400 hours to complete. Cox begins a painting by first drawing in charcoal on the canvas. He then applies paint to a small area of the canvas, and gradually works outward from that point. The finished painting is an accumulation of richly worked layers of pigment, as well as months of intense observation.
Cox is rumoured to have up to 13 illegitimate children, although this number is generally accepted as an exaggeration. His affair with Glyns Evans-Jones lasted 3 years and resulted in two daughters Carys (b. 1965) and Rhian (b.1967). He then begun an affair with Angharad Williams, a Cardiff society girl who gave birth to two sons Aberthol (b.1967) and Brychan (b.1969). Cox has children also by Bronwyn Matthews (Eiddwen Matthews (b.1975) and Dilys Matthews (b.1978)); Suzy Jones (Emma Jones Cox (b.1983), Rose Jones Cox (b.1986), Ellis Jones (b.1989), Penelope Jones (b.1991) and Isobel Jones (b.1995)); and Margaret Thomas (2 children: Davie (b.2001) and Maggie (b.2005)).