THE BLACK CHAIR

The sad tale of Hedd Wyn, winner of the 1917 Eisteddfod poetry competition and Bardic Chair, is enshrined in Welsh history as a story that remembers a lost generation of young Welsh men who died in WWI.

 

Poet Ellis Humphrey Evans (Hedd Wyn), who entered the Eisteddfod poetry competition under the assumed name of ‘fleur-de-lis’ in 1917 was soon after killed at the Battle of Passchendaele, sadly only weeks before his entry ‘Yr Arwr’ (The Hero) was declared the winner. The winner is traditionally presented with the Bardic Chair – on this occasion a wonderfully ornate work of art created by Flemish refugee craftsman, Eugeen Vanfleteren, who decorated the chair lavishly with Celtic and Welsh symbols and motifs making it one of the most impressive Eisteddfod chairs ever made. When the name ‘fleur-de-lis’ was announced as the Eisteddfod winner on September 6th, 1917, it was solemnly proclaimed by the Archdruid that Hedd Wyn had died in battle and was therefore unable to claim his chair. A black sheet was draped over the empty chair and it was returned to his family farm in North Wales where it remains to this day.

 

The Snowdonia National Park Authority and CyMAL commissioned Quod to 3D scan the famous Black Chair. In the small surroundings of the farmhouse using a portable arm and laser scanner, we were able to completely scan the chair and pick-up the incredible detail in the wood carving. With this information, the original chair has in effect been archived and the data can be used to re-engineer the chair in its entirety if necessary. Using normal internet browsers, people all over the world can now read the story of Hedd Wyn and see a fully rotatable version of the chair, enabling it to be inspected at all angles and at varying levels of zoom. We also created a fly-through video (below left) which moves through both solid model and fully rendered versions of the chair for use in exhibitions and websites. More information about the story of Hedd Wyn and the Black Chair can be found at the Snowdonia National Park website www.eryri-npa.gov.uk and entering Hedd Wyn as the search term.