Primary History

British History: Waterlilies by Monet

  • Waterlilies

    This painting is a part of a series of famous paintings called the Waterlilies by Claude Monet, which can be seen at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. It was painted by the French artist in 1905 using oil on canvas.

    The Waterlilies pictures are a series of around 250 oil paintings and they were the main focus of Monet's creative work during the last 30 years of his life. He painted the image of the waterlilies again and again over a period of many years, at different times of the day and different times of the year. These waterlilies are now one of the most famous symbols of the artist's work.

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  • Many versions of the same picture

    All of the Waterlilies paintings by Monet picture the artist's flower garden in Giverny, France. The bright colours used in the pictures create the effects of light during a specific season of the year or a specific time of day.

    Apparently, Monet grew his own waterlilies and employed a number of gardeners to dust and prune them so that they looked perfect before he painted them. Many of the pictures in the Waterlilies series were painted by Monet while he suffered with an eye condition called cataracts.

    Different versions of the Waterlilies paintings are displayed in museums across the world - including Paris, New York, Chicago, Munich and Tokyo.

    On June 24 2008 one version of Monet's Waterlilies, Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas, was sold for almost £41 million at the famous Christie's auction in London.

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  • An invaluable collection

    This picture of the Waterlilies was donated to the National Museum of Wales by the sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies.

    Gwendoline (1882-1951) and Margaret (1884-1963) were the granddaughters of the industrialist David Davies of Llandinam.

    Both were very interested in art and during the first half of the 20th century, they created a unique collection of artworks from the four corners of the world.

    When the sisters died - Gwendoline in 1951 and Margaret in 1963 - they left their amazing collection of art works to the National Museum of Wales (a total of 260 pieces). This was one of the most valuable gifts ever donated to a museum in Britain and the national art collection of Wales was truly transformed.

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