The valley was Roger Cecil’s world. It was where he was born, on 18 July 1942, where he grew up and lived all his life, and where he painted. This place riven deep into the uplands of the coalfield was at the heart of his imagination. He often made paintings that looked down on his home valley from a lonely position on the nearby hills.
In many the town is a mist of light glowing faintly in the darkness, sometimes with a road or foreground object to give it anchorage. The hills caress and hold the people down there in the streets and houses. It is as if the artist guards Abertillery in his hand.
Untitled colliery landscape
1986. Mixed media on paper, 48x43cm. Collection of Terry Williams
As a small boy I can remember lying in bed on a cold winter's morning and listening for the crunch crunch of the miner's stud boots on the road as they're walking on their way to the pit. It gave me a wonderful feeling of security.
1988. Mixed media, 48x43cm. Collection of Terry Williams
The valley Roger loved is named Ebbw Fach. Under the skin of today’s landscape you can see the wounds amid the settlements where collieries once stood. Steep hills show the shadows of the scudding clouds, switching fast from bright to dark.
And down in the valley are the straights and intersections of the streetscape, the long roofs of terraced houses and the rhythmic lines of poles and wires.
Pit Top I
Undated, c. 1975. Mixed media on paper, 62x51cm. National Library of Wales
Night-time road over to Home Valley
1999. Mixed media on paper, 59x52cm. National Library of Wales