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This portrait of the ironmaster and builder of Cyfarthfa Castle was painted to commemorate the opening of ‘The Merthyr Story – 3,000 Years of history’. Rolf Harris painted it live in front an audience of many hundreds in 20 minutes!

William Crawshay and his assertive father saw the consolidation of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks as the largest in the world by the 1830s and capitalised on the railway boom by rolling rails for companies globally.

Rolf’s grandfather, George Frederick Harris, owned a portrait studio in Merthyr Tydfil before moving to Cardiff and then emigrating to Australia. The Museum has several paintings by George Frederick Harris.

Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Merthyr Tydfil




acrylic on canvas


H 183 x W 121.5 cm

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Normally on display at

Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Brecon Road, Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful) CF47 8RE Wales

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