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Iolo opens restored lake

Created on 26/11/2010 @ 16:12
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Celebrity wildlife broadcaster Iolo Williams officially opened a restored lily lake at Gregynog Hall where famous sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies used to paint.
The restoration project included opening up the overgrown lake, installing four bridges made to the sisters’ original plans and installing a model of Gregynog Hall, dubbed “Quackers Hall”, on an island for resident wild ducks to use.
“Margaret and Gwendoline Davies used to paint in the little summerhouse at the lake and I think I have discovered why,” explained Karen Armstrong, Gregynog Hall’s director.
“When you go there in the early evening, the light coming across the lake is absolutely stunning. It may have been the sisters’ version of Monet’s ‘Water lilies’.
“The lake hasn’t been seen to its best effect for such a long time because it was so overgrown. Now it’s a very attractive area to visit and our talented carpenter David Jones has done a brilliant job making the bridges and Quacker’s Hall, assisted by volunteers.”
The restoration of the lake and the Grade 1 listed gardens at Gregynog Hall are part of plans to establish the University of Wales’ historic conference, event and study venue as a major visitor attraction.
Iolo Williams said: “I have been walking around and visiting the gardens and grounds at Gregynog Hall for the best part of 30 years and it is one of Mid Wales’ hidden jewels. It is a fantastic place for all kinds of wildlife and the work to restore the lily lake will ensure that it remains so for many years to come.”
Miss Armstrong added: “Gregynog Hall is already a very beautiful place to visit but it has potential to be one of the finest gardens and arboretums in Wales. We have such a rich cultural history here and it’s fantastic to be able to share that with a more diverse audience.”
Gregynog Hall was bequeathed to the University of Wales 50 years ago by the late Margaret Davies. She and her sister were granddaughters of Victorian tycoon David Davies of Llandinam, who made his fortune from coal, railways and the construction of the Barry docks.
In his legacy, Davies left Gwendoline and Margaret £500,000 each, which enabled them to become passionate collectors of art from around 1908 onwards.
By 1924, they had amassed the largest collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in Britain. Between 1951 and 1963, the sisters bequeathed 260 works to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, completely transforming its art collection with works such as famous Renoir's famous Blue Lady, Monet's Rouen Cathedral and Rodin's The Kiss.
Pictures caption:
Iolo Williams with Gregynog Hall director Karen Armstrong, estate manager Steve Griffiths and Ysgol Rhiw Bechan pupils Aaron Darwin, Joshua Stanley, Ffion Bond and Natalie Evans with the ‘Quackes Hall’ model in the background

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