Fonds GB 0210 GAPPER - R. L. Gapper Papers

Identity area

Reference code



R. L. Gapper Papers


  • 1843-1991 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.229 cubic metres (8 large boxes).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Robert Lambert Gapper was born at Llanaelhaearn, Caernarfonshire, in 1897. Originally an electrical engineer, he served on the Western Front during the First World War, worked in Rugby, and studied at Bangor. His artistic career began when he enrolled at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s, and after visiting Italy he became increasingly interested in sculpture and stonemasonry, preferring to work with the slate and granite of his native Snowdonia, as well as bronze and wood. The art for which he was best known typically comprised public works, such as memorials and gravestones, portrait busts, ecclesiastical furniture and ornaments, and eisteddfod regalia, medals, certificates and pavilions. All of R. L. Gapper's art work was produced to commission, and many of the projects he worked on are not represented in this archive.

In 1934, R. L. Gapper was appointed assistant lecturer in Art at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and he eventually became Senior Lecturer in Art and Head of the Art Department, retiring in 1962. This is how he described his position in a CV written in 1968 (see A2/16), although he was nevertheless sometimes referred to as 'Professor' Gapper.

R. L. Gapper often adjudicated in the Art and Craft section of the National Eisteddfod, and he was commissioned to undertake many projects for the Eisteddfod. His contribution to Welsh culture was recognised by election to the Board of Gorsedd y Beirdd relatively early in his career, and he was elected as a member of the Council of the National Eisteddfod when it was established in 1930; he also served as a member of both the Board and the Court. In addition, he contributed extensively to local eisteddfodau throughout his life, and served as a member of the Council of Urdd Gobaith Cymru. He died in 1984.

Archival history

Almost all of the papers in the archive were accumulated by R. L. Gapper, but a few of the family papers were added after his death. The archive was kept by Gapper's family before being donated to NLW.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Mrs Catrin Daniel (one of R. L. Gapper's daughters); Bangor; Donation; September 2004; 0200410241.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers, 1843-1991, of the artist R. L. Gapper, including correspondence, plans and other material relating to artistic commissions undertaken by him; records and correspondence accumulated through his work as an administrator and adjudicator with the National Eisteddfod, and also as a lecturer in the University of Wales; and personal papers, including diaries and correspondence. Many of R. L. Gapper's own letters remain in the archive, since he often made copies of the letters he sent.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW into four groups: Art Projects; National Eisteddfod; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; and Personal Papers. R. L. Gapper's original arrangement was reasonably systematic, but it appears to have been revamped several times, and was not always rigorously adhered to. The results were occasionally somewhat haphazard. Wherever possible, R. L. Gapper's arrangement has been followed; where the original provenance is not clear, papers have been left in the context in which they were found. The archive was partially re-arranged by Mrs Catrin Daniel before transfer to NLW.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers’ tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh
  • Latin
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh, Latin, French (for further details see appropriate level descriptions).

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Many visual items relating to material in this archive were received in March 2004 (Acc. 0200403082) and September 2004, and have been catalogued separately as part of the Pictures Collection. Other papers relating to R. L. Gapper, mostly comprising correspondence, are also at NLW.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

December 2008.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description compiled by David Moore. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: documents within the archive;

Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: R. L. Gapper Papers.