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Exhibition:Mari Lwyd Artwork Exhibition at Chepstow Museum

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Exhibition, free entry


Chepstow Museum

Chepstow Museum

Chepstow Museum

Please note that facemasks are still required in indoor public places in Wales, with the exception of hospitality businesses.

Please check the latest Welsh Government guidance here : and plan your visit before setting off.


Chepstow Museum,
Bridge Street,
NP16 5EZ


Ms A Rainsbury


In the dark days of December as Christmas festivities launch with lights and feasting, in the dark streets and countryside of Wales another figure appears, the Mari Lwyd or Grey Mare. This strange and haunting custom has become the focus of artistic inspiration and a new exhibition of artworks can now be seen at Chepstow Museum.

The stark white skull of a horse decorated with coloured ribbons, draped with a long white gown, with jaws made to snap, is led from house to house. She comes from the Otherworld, a reminder that winter is a time to mark the process of life, death and rebirth, and evokes a time when horses symbolised power and fertility. She is led by a troupe wearing coloured ribbons and some with blackened faces, The Leader who holds the reins carrying a stick to knock on doors as they do their rounds, attempting to gain entry. But each visit is a battle of song and rhyme between those without and those within – the Mari Lwyd gains entry when her troupe win the competition and outdo the occupants. Her entry with snapping jaws heralds entertainment, music and hospitality, beer, and money. Their parting words were a blessing on the house.

The custom has seen a great revival in recent years not least in Chepstow itself, and at Chepstow Museum this winter there is a special celebration this year.

The Mari Lwyd has become an inspiration for a whole host of artists intrigued and moved by her magic and mystery. The exhibition brings together artwork from artists throughout the UK and beyond whose work features the Mari Lwyd in some way or the mythic world from which she has emerged.

There is a wealth of imagery in a variety of media. Artists John and Sue Exton who live and work in Monmouthshire and are themselves creators of Mari Lwyds and participants in celebrations, have brought together the many artists who are contributing to this exhibition. Many of the works are also for sale.

Opening details

The exhibition opens on December 14th and runs until Spring 2020. Chepstow Museum is open daily from 11am – 4pm except on Wednesdays, and will be closed December 25, 26 & 27, and January 1st.


Free entry



See location of Chepstow Museum on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: ST 535941  Lat: 51.64462 Long: -2.67250

Town centre

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Chepstow station


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