Related Twilights: Notes from an Artist’s Diary

Name of traveller

Josef Herman (1911-2000)

Reason for travel

  • Polish refugee from Third Reich

Date of travel


It was in 1944, either a June or a July day, I can no longer remember, but I vividly recall the heat of that afternoon and how deeply I was struck by the quiet of the village around me. There was hardly a soul to be seen. In the distance, low hills like sleeping dogs and above the hills a copper-coloured sky – how often I later returned to the colour and mood of that sky! (Herman 73)


  • art: produces many of his iconic miners portraits during that time; portraits are members of the community
  • customs:
    • engages with and becomes part of the mining community of Ystradgynlais
    • acquires nickname 'Joe bach' (Little Joe)
    • participation in evening gatherings in local pub
    • compares the close community of Wales favourably to cosmopolitan London and Paris
  • terrain:
    • links landscape and mythology
    • remembers the Carpathian mountains of his native Poland and compares them with Wales
  • transport: arrives in Wales having first travelled to Brussels, Glasgow and London after leaving Poland in 1938

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication



Herman, Josef. Related Twilights: Notes from an Artist’s Diary. 1975. Ed. Tony Curtis Bridgend: Seren, 2002. Print.