Friday, 20 April 2018


I am fortunate enough enough to live in a beautiful part of Wales, not very far from the smallest city in Britain: Saint Davids (pop. c3000). Not sure about the rest of the world, but here a city must have a Cathedral to be recognised as a city. Appropriately enough, the city boasts the smallest cathedral in the country, named after the Patron Saint of Wales, Saint David.
   This cathedral is 'something else' and I intend to draw a series of Pen and Ink drawings of some of its features. Here is the first, the statue of Saint David.

                                         Saint David, St Davids Cathedral, Wales                      John Simlett
Pen & Ink on 300 gsm  Cartridge Paper
18  x 14 inches  (46 x 35 cms)

The monastic community was founded by Saint DavidAbbot of Menevia (the Roman name for this area), who died in 589. The monastery was attacked by Vikings many times over the next 400 years.

Work began on the modern cathedral in 1123, but it was damaged by an earthquake (!!!) in 1248, and the cathedral all but destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s'.

There were many attempts at restoring the cathedral over the centuries, but it wasn't until the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth century that full restoration was completed. The Bishop's Palace, however, remains a ruin to this very day.

On a grammatical point: the apostrophe one might anticipate with Saint David's, is always omitted, and Saint Davids is always the correct form ......... but don't ask me why! 


  1. Wonderful drawing! Thanks for the infos about St Davids, always good to learn something new! Have a happy weekend, hugs, Valerie

    1. Thank you, Valerie. A 'homely' cathedral is a rare thing.

  2. Good HEAVENS! What an amazing piece of work, John. I thought it was a photograph and I mean that as a complement in this case.
    How many hours? Superb work. You are back in your comfort zone.
    I am familiar with the story because when we studied earthquakes at school. They happen more often in certain areas - Wales and east side of Scotland. I remember our chimney pots sliding down the slate roof after a tremor - back in the day. Isn't there a fault somewhere in UK that is linked to the San Andreas Fault in CA?
    Anyhow - loved seeing the pen and ink...truly wonderful.

    1. How many hours? A few here a few there, never keep count. Thank for your kind and valued comments. No, i knew nothing of the earthquakes ... will have to research.

      I'm so glad your over the move to your new home; traumatic at anytime!. I hope you are soon back into the swing of painting once again, where you belong.

  3. Good Lord, that's a drawing! Absolutely amazing, John. Like Julie (I just saw her comment above) I too thought it was a b&w photo. I've heard some people say that drawing in that way is very soothing and calming. Is that the case for you too? I think I am just the opposite. I think it's called "austere" (simple, plain, rigid, bare and such). That might not be the right word. Anyway, I just want you to know I think your drawing is fabulous. Be blessed!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Carol. I'm not sure about 'soothing and calming', sometimes the concentration is too much and you walk away from it.

      You begin by (like writing) trying to make the pen do what you want, and then sometimes the pen takes over and does the drawing with you in tow. This is a good time. I never get to decide when the pen is in control, it just happens or it doesn't.

  4. I like your drawing, John. Beautiful tribute to your cathedral and your town.
    When I was a child, I lived in Sens, Burgundy, a small town too. But the firt gothic cathedral ever built, and a true jewel of the medieval ages... Do you know it ?

    1. Thank you for your comment, Anne. I didn't know the Sens Cathedral but I've just googled it and it is, as you said, vert beautiful.

      Loved your note book, a gem!

  5. Bonjour cher ami,

    M A G N I F I Q U E ! Je suis éblouie par ce très joli dessin.
    Je suis certaine que vous avez eu beaucoup de plaisir à le réaliser.
    Un bel hommage.

    Gros bisous