Robert Macdonald


Robert Macdonald has divided his life between Journalism and painting, frequently giving up one for the other. He trained as a journalist on the New Zealand Herald in Auckland, and later studied painting and printmaking at the Central School of Art in London.

During the 1960s he worked in Fleet Street as Commonwealth Correspondent for the Scotsman, and took a specialist interest in the progress of African independence movements.

For a period in the 1970's, he was Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for the Central Office of Information, travelling widely overseas in delegations led by Britain's Foreign Secretaries.

He gave up this work to do postgraduate studies in painting at the Royal College of Art in 1976. Since then he has worked in art schools and has continued to paint and to write. Robert lives near Brecon.


“I thought this a very worthwhile project and do very much hope that the posters serve to increase interest in the Valleys and support efforts to increase tourism and business activities.  

Living as I do ‘just over the mountain’ in the agricultural valley of the Usk, I have explored the industrial valleys in the past but got to know them better on this occasion, travelling around to spot good subject matter for my poster.

What immediately strikes the visitor is the great variety of life and landscape in the Valleys and the vitality and friendliness of the people.

I tried to suggest something of this vivid life in my poster based on Caerphilly’s Big Cheese festival and race. Of course the castle forms a splendidly dramatic backdrop to this festival and provided me with an ideal subject. I introduced the statue of Tommy Cooper, the comedian who hailed from Caerphilly, on the left side of my picture, looming over the cheese race. He would surely have enjoyed the wild costumes, and they gave me a wonderful opportunity to introduce a sense of fantasy into the picture.”

Robert Macdonald, September 2013


Stretching over a thirty-acre site in the centre of Caerphilly, the building of Caerphilly Castle was begun in 1268 by the Norman Lord, Gilbert de Clare to help suppress and control the native Welsh population.

It is Wales' largest castle, and the second biggest in the UK after Windsor Castle, with a tower that leans more than that in Pisa.

Encircled by mountains, the surrounding area boasts tremendous natural beauty. The world famous Caerphilly Cheese is celebrated during the annual Big Cheese Festival at the end of July.

The Big Cheese, Caerphilly Castle
Y Caws Mawr - Castell Caerffili

Image copyright - Caerphilly CBC