'My sheets of transcript, the labours of many years, are for the most part unbound and in great disorder, like everything else with me. I have always had too many Irons in the fire, a llawer un ohonynt yn llosgi'n ulw [and many burning to a cinder].'
(Iolo Morganwg to Owen Jones (Owain Myfyr), 26 July 1800)
Iolo Morganwg's archive is one of the richest in Wales. In a letter to William Owen Pughe, dated 12 March 1788, Iolo described 'the numerous disorganized papers (the confused wilderness as it should be called)' ['yr aneirif bapirau didrefn (yr anialwch dyrus fal y mae'n gymmwys ei alw)']. Iolo could not have been further from the truth! It includes books, commonplace books, travel journals, essays, scribbled notes and sketches.
The core of the collection comprises Iolo's miscellaneous papers, bound in 80 volumes, but it also contains his own private collection of original manuscripts from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
Following Iolo's death in 1826 his unbound manuscripts and papers were transferred to the care of his son, Taliesin Williams (Taliesin ab Iolo). Shortly after Taliesin's death, Iolo's papers came into the possession of Augusta Waddington Hall, Lady Llanover, the renowned patron of Welsh arts in 19th-century Wales. Consequently, these items are known as the 'Llanover Collection'.
The collection was deposited in the National Library of Wales by Lady Llanover's grandson, Major-General Sir Ivor John Caradoc Herbert, Bt., 1st Baron of Treowen thereafter.
The Llanover Collection is not exhaustive, since Iolo's family kept hold of his correspondence, as well as other miscellaneous papers, mainly of a personal or political nature. These were eventually presented to the National Library of Wales (1953-4) by Iolo's London-based descendants, Mr Iolo Aneurin Williams and Miss H. Ursula Williams. This collection constitutes the 'Iolo Aneurin Williams Collection'.
Iolo Aneurin Williams Collection
The Correspondence of Iolo Morganwg