This painting was inspired by a Welsh legend that my dad told me. He is very sick at the moment, so I want to dedicate this to him.
The story is of Rhys and Meinir, childhood sweethearts from the village of Nant who were due to get married. They invited all their friends and family who brought gifts for the couple, one brought a piece of cloth, another bringing some yeast flour, everyone bringing useful things. All the guests and family were looking forward to the joyful occasion on the following day.
In this tiny village the people kept up the tradition of the "Wedding Quest", this meant the bride would run and hide on the morning of her wedding and await to be found.
When the big day arrived, everybody gathered in Clynnog Church, except for Meinir who headed for the hills.
Playing their part, Rhys’ friends searched high and low for Meinir, but to no avail. On discovering his bride was missing, Rhys returned to the Nant and frantically searched for Meinir’s hiding place.
Fraught with worry, Rhys spent months searching for his sweetheart, and slowly lost his mind.
Then one stormy night, while out wondering the heath, Rhys took shelter beneath his favourite oak tree. As he cowered beneath the tree, a bolt of lightning struck the trunk, splitting it in half.
To Rhys’ disbelief the splintered tree revealed a skeleton wearing a wedding dress. Overcome by emotion, poor Rhys collapsed and died beside his beloved bride.
My dad told me this story when I was a child. Growing up in Wales I was surrounded by folklore, this story in particular has always stuck with me.