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Latitude: 51.8577 / 51°51'27"N
Longitude: -4.3033 / 4°18'11"W
OS Eastings: 241481
OS Northings: 220189
OS Grid: SN414201
Mapcode National: GBR DG.T38H
Mapcode Global: VH3LH.CKDQ
Entry Name: Oriel Myrddin (The Old Art School)
Listing Date: 21 August 1984
Last Amended: 28 November 2003
Source ID: 9734
Building Class: Education
Location: Situated opposite and to W of churchyard of St Peter's Church.
Locality: Church Lane
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
Former art school, now art gallery, 1891-2 by George Morgan & Son, Thomas Morris builder. The art school was the first in Wales, founded in 1854. A new building was proposed in 1888, the site created by the widening of Church Lane. When built it was described as being in Modern Renaissance style, the front of Bridgwater pressed bricks with mouldings and cornices of Ruabon brick, windows of Bath stone. It cost £1,500 including the site, the money being raised by public subscription and a grant from the South Kensington School of Art. Closed in 1971 and restored in 1991 by Alex Barry of Cedric Mitchell Architects. Civic Trust Awards special mention 1992.
Art school, now gallery, Northern Renaissance style, red brick with dressings of dark red moulded brick and Bath stone, and hipped slate roof, gable to front right. Two storeys, 3 bays with tall studio windows in broader gabled bay to right. Raised plinth with black brick top and black brick course below ground floor openings. Dark red moulded brick cornices to ground floor and eaves. Ashlar windows with flush sills and curved top corners. Small-paned glazing. Studio gable has tall 3-light window each floor. Pair of thin pilasters each side with moulded brick courses beneath the main cornices, which break forward over. The eaves cornice is broken by upper window head, and brick piers with raised strips are carried up to parapets with small cornice and outer ball finials. Above the inner raised strip, similar pier frames red brick walling over the window, with ball finial. Steep pediment over stone modillion course, with stone coping and spearhead finial. The 2 bays to left have cornices carried across and similar paired pilasters between, and outer pier has single pilaster each floor. Two first floor 2-light small ashlar windows with similar detail (the left-most light blank), and ground floor has 2-light similar mullion and transom window to left. Matching pair of top lights over main door to right. Door has depressed arched head, recess over, under flat sill of top lights. SCHOOL OF ART in block lettering over. Double 3-panel doors.
N elevation with 2 large first floor 25-pane studio windows breaking eaves under brick gables with ball finials. Ashlar window surrounds and heads curved at corners, cornice across both windows under the two gables and a panelled red brick chimney between.
S end wall has first floor cross-window lighting the stair, set to right, single light to centre and chimney to left. C20 hipped one-storey red brick small addition.
One large former studio each floor right, stairs to left. In 1892 ground floor had elementary room and modelling room, first floor had studio and master's room. Patterned tiled floor in entrance hall, lobby half-glazed inner doors. Double arch to left to stair hall with part-fluted piers with moulded capitals supporting big roll-moulded arches. Broad open-well stair in pitch-pine, closed string, with panelled newels, ball finials and turned balusters. Big stair-light with patterned coloured glass and 1891 date. Arch to rear ground floor room, which has coloured quarry tiles and one moulded beam. Arch to main ground floor exhibition room to right, one cross beam, wooden floor. Two similar arches to first floor landing.
Included as a purpose-built late C19 art school, the first in Wales, well-designed and well-preserved.
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