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Owen Evan Roberts (1892-1944) was a slate quarry worker from y Fron.  He attended Ysgol Bron y Foel and worshipped at Capel Cesarea every Sunday.  He married Frances and they had 8 children, 7 of whom grew to adulthood.  In Pen yr Orsedd quarry, he was known affectionately as ‘Now’r Iard’.  He drove the ‘American Devil’, the first steam shovel in the area.

His hobby was carving slate, and he became famous for his sculptured panels.  The designs were created by the Art Master at the local Grammar School in Penygroes.  In the shed behind his small terraced home, he would carefully bring these to life by hand carving the unforgiving slate with a variety of tools, achieving incredible details, sometimes using a tiny hammer and a small nail. The sculptures were then polished and the drama and depth heightened by lightening certain areas with slate dust and darkening others with linseed oil.  He was an amateur, but the sculptures are technically accomplished and the designs reflect the art deco style of the time.

He carved three large slate panels in the 1930s, all of which won prizes at the National Eisteddfod. The first two panels remain in the possession of the family and have been loaned to Canolfan y Fron. The third one is missing, although a photo and a full size copy of the original design in installed at the centre.

Come and see the panels for yourself, they are on permanent display at Canolfan y Fron.  Searches for the missing third panel in 2022 have so far failed to discover it’s whereabouts so if you can help with the search, we would love to hear from you.  We only want to know where the panel is and that it is in safe keeping.