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Owain Glyndŵr’s Face revealed on S4C

01/03/2011

The true face of Welsh rebel hero Owain Glyndŵr was revealed for the first time ever on S4C last night (Tuesday, 1 March).

The face of a proud, defiant-looking 40-plus-year-old man was revealed on the S4C documentary, Wyneb Glyndŵr – translation, The Face of Glyndŵr – in a special St David’s Day programme.

Owain Glyndwr’s face was revealed by Hollywood actor Julian Lewis Jones after months of meticulous investigation by research teams under the auspices of production company Wild Dream Films and S4C.

The face revealed a powerful-looking man with penetrating brown eyes, dark brown hair, a dark beard with hints of grey in it, a sharply-defined nose and battle scars along with a wart under one eye.

The programme – and the face – can be seen on S4C’s on-demand service on s4c.co.uk/clic. Wyneb Glyndŵr will also be repeated on Sunday, 6 March at 6.00pm, with on-screen English subtitles.

Owain Glyndŵr started a major rebellion against the English crown in 1400 and proclaimed himself Prince of Wales, but no-one until now really knew what he looked like.

Wild Dream Films’ investigation used the latest 3D and CGI computer-generated technology and de-ageing techniques, employed by law enforcement agencies like the FBI.

The investigation took them to Corwen and Cardiff in Wales, as well as an ancient family home in Herefordshire while experts from America and a remarkable discovery in an ancient archive in Paris added an international flavour to Julian’s journey.

The programme was directed by award-winning Newport-bred film-maker Stuart Clarke and produced by fellow Welshman Siôn Hughes.

Stuart Clarle was a key member of the team behind the award-winning TV series, 'Death Masks', which recreated the faces of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and William Shakespeare.

Stuart Clarke said: "I am confident that we have come as close as anyone ever will come to finding the real face of Owain Glyndwr. It was a daunting task at first but we started to find clues and eventually we were able to create a face, a photo fit much like a crime investigation team when they are in pursuit of someone. We’re proud of what we've achieved because it will breathe new life into a remarkable piece of Welsh history."

Tweli Griffiths, S4C’s Content Editor Factual, said: "This programme is a milestone in documentary broadcasting on S4C. This programme took viewers on a memorable journey through a ground-breaking detection process. People can make up their own minds about Owain Glyndwr’s face, but we at S4C are proud of what has been achieved in the programme through painstaking research and state-of-the-art technology. It is a programme that helped create history as well as narrate it.”

The complex process of creating the head of Owain Glyndŵr started by making a basic mask from the Glyndŵr marble statue in Cardiff City Hall. A great deal of in-depth research was carried out into the features of Owain Glyndŵr and evidence was gathered from ancient texts, libraries and old portraits.

An award-winning graphics team from Greece headed by Antonis Kotsias used cutting edge CGI to create the new head of Glyndŵr from the research work. All the data was then made available to 3D artists who painstakingly created a 3D model of Glyndŵr’s head, adding skin, eyes and hair.

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