Richard Higlett: ‘In Passing’ 2013, Text on glass, M5 Strensham Services

Y Llyfr: The Book

Richard Higlett  :  Bethan Lewis

Lichfield Cathedral: 29th October –  12th November

Church of St Teilo, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire : 30th October – 17th November

The curatorial basis of this project is a response to the ‘Chad Gospels’.

This extraordinary 7th century Columban manuscript is now housed in Lichfield Cathedral. Chad (c. 634-687) was Bishop of Mercia. The St Chad Gospels, also known as the Lichfield Gospels , was probably made there. It is also known as the Llandeilo Gospels.  By the mid-9th century, it was exchanged by a Welshman, Gelhi, in return for his favourite horse. He then gave the book to Llandeilo Fawr, at that time a key ecclesiastical centre. The Gospels returned to Lichfield later. We know this from 9th and 10th century margin notes in the Gospels, describing the exchange and other legal events. They are said to be the oldest evidence of written Welsh.

The artists

Two artists have made two paired groups of works.

Bethan Lewis is based in Birmingham. Her grandparents were Welsh speaking, and her parents left Wales to move to the West Midlands. She works in a variety of media and is involved in gallery and mainstream education. She uses photography, drawing and collaboration with others as components of her practice.

Richard Higlett is based in Cardiff but grew up in the West Midlands. He has lived and worked in South Wales since studying at Cardiff School of Art. His practice embraces moving image, sound and traditional media such as paintings and objects. He shows his work in gallery and non-traditional spaces, in collaborative projects and online. Amongst his past projects is an artist’s residency in Llandeilo.

The project is curated by Michael Tooby. Mike is an independent curator based in Cardiff. He grew up in the West Midlands after his mother left Wales for work and marriage. From 2000 to 2012 he was a Director of Amgueddfa Cymru : National Museums Wales.

Altar and plinth, Lichfield Cathedral: photo Mike Tooby Altar and plinth, Lichfield Cathedral: photo Mike Tooby

What you can see

In Llandeilo and Lichfield each artist has made new work that is shown at each location at the same time. They respond not simply to the idea of the book, its resonances and meanings, but also to the journeys made between each location.

The dualities suggested by the book and its history have all been central to their thinking : of the status and survival of the book’s languages (Welsh, Latin); ideas of ‘centre’ and ‘margin’; design as metaphor, and natural form as a vehicle for meaning and expression;  and being illustrative of journeys and exchange and the relationship between ‘faith’ and ‘value’.

Both installations will be brought together with the other five Colm Cille’s Spiral  projects in London St Gallery, Derry – Londonderry, 30 November – 15 December 2013.

Display and event information :

Lichfield Cathedral 29th October –  12th November

Work is installed in the Cathedral nave and in Chapters Café

Introductory discussion with Richard Higlett and Bethan Lewis with Michael Tooby, 6th November  7pm

Young people’s workshop with Bethan Lewis : Thursday 31 October, 1-3pm

Church of St Teilo, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire 30th October – 17th November

Work is installed in the Church nave and in the mezzanine area 

Introductory discussion with Richard Higlett and Beth Lewis with Michael Tooby, 16th November 4pm

Young people’s workshop with Bethan Lewis : 30th October, 10.30am – 12.30 pm

Introductory demonstration of the new ‘Teilo’ typeface and font with Richard Higlett: 16th November , 11.00 am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 3.30pm


Eglwys Llandeilo Fawr. Image: Richard Higlett

Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield,  Staffordshire WS13 7LD

Cathedral Opening Times:  Mon – Fri 7.30am to 6.15pm, Sat 8.00am to 6.15pm, Sun 7.30am to 5.00pm

The Chad Gospels are on display in the Chapter House, which is open during each day, generally between 10.00am and 4.30pm

Chapters Cafe (opposite the south side of the Cathedral, at 19A The Close), open Mon – Sat 9 – 4, Sunday 10 -4

Visitor Enquiries: 01543 306 240


Church of St Teilo, Church Street, Llandeilo, Carmathenshire SA19 

Opening Times: Tues – Sat 1- 4 or by appointment  Tel no. 01558 823862


The Fold, Colm Cille’s Spiral in Derry – Londonderry

Exhibition:  30 Nov-15 Dec, London St Gallery

Creative Convention : after Colm Cille, 30 Nov – 1 Dec, Verbal Arts Centre


Entrance in both Lichfield and Llandeilo is free, but visitors are asked to make a donation.