The Germany based artist, Gerhard Schneider, has kindly given me permission to share some of his pictures based on my grandfather’s play for voices, Under Milk Wood.
In August 2017, Gerhard wrote to me to express how much he enjoyed the stories and poems of Dylan Thomas. His favourite was Under Milk Wood that he discovered after reading the German translation by Eric Fried.
He described listening to the BBC recording of Under Milk Wood featuring Richard Burton, as well as the German version by Harry Rowohlt. It was only then that he absorbed the energy and spirit of the piece and appreciated that it was bursting with imagery and so “full of pictures”.
As an artist, he really wanted to draw those pictures and visualise what he had heard. He was keen to explain that he was not creating them in the form of a comic or graphic novel, or in fact trying to mirror the text, he hoped to generate impressions of the text.
After pointing him in the right direction to find images of a 1950s Welsh milkman and policeman, he embarked on his Under Milk Wood project.
I did not hear anything until about a month ago when Germany was deep in lockdown and other countries were just beginning their isolation journey. Gerhard explained that, over the past three years, whenever he found the time, he had continued to work on his illustrations and had managed to complete his project. He wrote, “It was a great pleasure for me. I learned a lot about Wales. I hope you like my pictures.”
I liked his pictures very much and was delighted with what he had achieved. I adored the detail he had added to his images and how his passion for Under Milk Wood and the warmth of the characters shined through. I was extremely pleased he had found the time to send them to me.
I hope you like the pictures as much as I do.
All images © Gerhard Schneider