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Hero of stainless character 600 years on; STEEL SCULPTURE: Brothers honour executed prince by making new 'guardian angel' for Llandovery.

Byline: KAREN PRICE Arts and Media Correspondent

WHEN Toby and Gideon Petersen were commissioned by the Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan Society to produce a sculpture to mark the 600th anniversary of the prince's death, they read a poem for inspiration.

The poem about Llywelyn was written in 1916 by Carodyn.

"It is a beautifully written poem and was a great help when we were trying to discover how we wanted this memorial to appear, " said Toby Petersen.

The stainless steel statue will be unveiled at Llandovery Castle today.

The stainless steel hollow figure, which is about 12-feet high, is holding a sword and spear and wearing a helmet and torque.

"They are all symbolic of the acts of bravery that this man took part in."

The brothers, who work with their sculptor father David, were told they had won the commission a year ago and they have spent the last four months actually producing it.

"It's never easy to try and fulfil a brief and try to please the majority of the public, " said Petersen.

"We felt strongly that being a public arts sculpture it should please the majority and not the minority so it's quite representational although the figure is abstract."

Petersen said they wanted the statue to be "a guardian angel" over the town.

"He [Llywelyn] stood as a barrier."

The statue stands on a 17-tonne limestone boulder, which is from a quarry at Llyn Brianne and was donated to the project by Welsh Water. "We felt it was important that the stone was local."

The memorial's organiser, Rhobert ap Steffan, said it captured the spirit that sustained the Welsh culture and language in the face of countless threats.

It had been chosen from a selection of designs submitted by different artists.

"This is a community project of which we can all be proud, " said Mr ap Steffan.

"The magnificent statue will soon become a public work of art associated with the Tywi Valley and a beacon for its future as well as a symbol of its past."

Today's ceremony will start at 10.30am and the honour of unveiling the statue goes to Mererid Hughes, the winner of an arts competition for local schoolchildren. There will be three choirs, drama and folk dancing by local schoolchildren, poets, singers, musicians and knights in armour, with speeches by the town mayor and county council chairman.

The Petersen brothers work from their studio in St Clears with their father David, sculpting stainless steel.

Toby and Gideon Petersen can be seen working on the project on the arts programme Double Yellow on BBC2 Wales, Tuesday, at 10pm.

Royal fury sealed Llywelyn's fate LLYWELYN ap Gruffydd Fychan was executed in front of the castle gates at Llandovery by a furious King Henry IV.

Ordered by the king to lead him to Owain Glyndwr, Llywelyn had led the king's army on a wild goose chase in the summer and early autumn of 1401.

His fate was sealed when Henry discovered that Llywelyn's two sons had joined the rebel Welsh army.


BROTHERS IN ARMS: Gideon, left, and Toby Petersen with their statue of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan at Llandovery yesterday Picture: TONY PARADICE
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 6, 2001
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