at the heart of the Oak
It all started when landscape artist David Cox ventured to Betws in 1844 to capture the transient beauty of the ever changing seasons of Snowdonia. He made his summer base at the Royal Oak and his students and fellow artists quickly followed. The Betws-y-Coed Artists Colony was born with the Royal Oak at it’s very heart.
With Britain’s first ever Art Colony established, seven of the artists went on to form the Cambrian Academy which was given Royal stat accreditation by Queen Victoria in 1881. The Academy is housed in the stunning Plas Mawr in Conwy where it continues to support artists inspired by and living in Wales.
Cox’s painting of an Oak tree, painted in 1847 which originally hung outside the hotel, now takes pride of place above the fireplace in the main lounge.
Alongside Cox’s work you’ll find contemporary commissions, historical prints and etchings and other artistic finds we’ve made over the years. From Alison Bradley’s huge charcoal of a Welsh Black which adorns the wall in the Grill Room, celebrating Welsh produce and farming, to a relief sculpture carved out of Oak comissioned to celebrate our partnership with Arts & Business Cymru.