January 13, 2022
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Famous Welsh journalist and writer Jan Morris unveiled in Machynlleth

By on December 3, 2021 0

Wales’ most famous travel writer Jan Morris was honored with a posthumous portrait at the launch of a festival dedicated to his memory.

On November 26, a portrait of the famous journalist, historian and author was unveiled at the Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth.

The portrait, by Welsh artist and painter Dan Llywelyn Hall, was commissioned as part of the first Amdani, Fachynlleth! (Let’s Go, Machynlleth!), A travel and literature festival dedicated to the memory of Jan Morris.

The oil painting, measuring 122 cm by 84 cm, was made from extensive video footage and photographic archives from Jan’s life.

Dan Llywelyn Hall said: “I never met Jan in person, but corresponded with her for a few years. A sense of his demeanor and physical presence hinted at me, but I felt close after browsing through footage, photos, and audio recordings.

Described by the BBC as “one of the best writers Britain produced in the postwar era”, Jan Morris’ illustrious career spanned seven decades.

As a journalist, she was an accompanying correspondent for the 1953 Mount Everest expedition, announcing the successful ascent of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the summit. She also played a central role in the Suez Crisis of 1956 by uncovering the lies told by the British and French governments regarding their invasion of Egypt. In 1961, she reported on the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

In the 1960s, Morris began writing travel journals, covering places she found inspiring. His books on Venice, Oxford, Spain and many others sought to capture the history, style and spirit of these places.

His personal life was equally remarkable. Having been assigned male at birth, Morris began transitioning to female life in 1964, undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1972.

As same-sex marriage was not legal at the time, Jan and his wife Elizabeth, who were first married in 1949, had to divorce. They stayed together after the operation and entered into a civil partnership in 2008.

Morris passed away on November 20, 2020, with the unveiling of her portrait to Machynlleth marking just over a year since her passing.

Her son, Twm Morris, was also present at the unveiling.

Jan Morris’ son Twm (right) with portrait painter Dan Llwelyn Hall (left)

Unveiling of the portrait of Jan Morris at the Wynnstay Hotel.

Unveiling of the portrait of Jan Morris at the Wynnstay Hotel.


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