Sir Thomas Picton Reframed

Sir Thomas Picton was born in Haverfordwest and up until a few years ago his name was attached to a local school. But now things have changed in more ways than one.

Picton was renowned for his military prowess – and being killed at Waterloo – but also infamous for his use of violence and condonement of torture when he was governor of Trinidad.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, protests about memorials to slave owners. and the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, a portrait of Picton was removed from the National Museum Cardiff last November 

Now it has been put back on display – but it remains semi-boxed up and is being shown alongside new artworks and information “reframing” Picton’s place in history.

The museum says: “Who was Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton? A war hero. A cruel tyrant. A symptom of the British Empire. All of these things can be true at once and are explored in an exhibition which has been years in the making.

“The exhibition has been split in three: 

“In the first room, visitors will be confronted with Picton’s legacy

“The second room is a room of healing, featuring a new commission by Gesiye, a multidisciplinary artist from Trinidad and Tobago. Gesiye’s commissioned work – a series of photos and a film – invited Trinidadians to participate in a healing offering that includes a series of tattoos and conversations around their connection to the land.

“The third room includes a commission by Laku Neg, an installation exploring a re-presentation of victims of Picton’s brutal regime in Trinidad.”

The Sir Thomas Picton School closed in 2018 when it merged with Tasker Milward School to form Haverfordwest High.

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at

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