The Triptych was first shown at the ‘RS Thomas Celebration’ which marked the life and work of the Welsh poet, RS Thomas, at the Welsh National Gallery in Cardiff. The painting took two years to complete. Other works by Duffy have references to RS Thomas but Duffy, himself, wasn’t fully aware of the extent of his preoccupation with Thomas’s poetry, until creating this piece.
R S Thomas Triptych
Duffy began this painting in search of a new aesthetic with a realisation that many of his previous works were stepping stones towards this one; a process of searching. As the Triptych form emerged he struggled to resolve it and many months elapsed without progress until Duffy walked the same routes through the Welsh Mountains that RS Thomas walked. Through this Duffy gained insight, understanding, and a realisation of the energy that inspired RS Thomas.
The more Duffy reflected on the work the more he understood the problem: that the painting was complete, but it wasn’t focused on the poetry; the focus was on the person, the poet, the artist. Subsequently this artwork has been exhibited at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.