The Archives and Cornish Studies Service launches its new exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library on Saturday March 4th, as part of Redruth’s St Piran’s Day celebrations.


Dazzling Daffodils’ looks at the history of Cornwall’s daffodil industry, and features material from a range of Cornish archives including items never before seen on public display.

Among a range of spectacular photos and fascinating documents from Cornwall Record Office, the Cornish Studies Library, Penlee House and Falmouth Spring Flower Show archive are a range of treasures borrowed from the Lanarth archive. Lanarth in St Keverne was once home to P.D. Williams, Cornwall’s “Daffodil King” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Williams, a cousin of J.C. Williams of Caerhays, was famed for the daffodils he bred and his variations sold – and still sell – across the world. The archive contains evidence of the international fever for daffodils between the wars, with American invoices being paid in gold after the 1929 crash, and pictures and certificates showing P.D.’s success in Dutch flower shows.

Also on display will be spectacular watercolours of some of P.D.’s daffodils, painted by some of the best known botanical artists of the day. One painting even recently helped to solve a mystery of a curious daffodil variety…

Chloe Phillips, Learning Lead for the Service, says: “We are delighted to be displaying such a seasonal exhibition this year and are particularly excited to show some of P.D. Williams’ amazing personal archive for the very first time. Research for the exhibition has also uncovered photos and treasures from our own collections so we really hope people embrace this celebration of a different type of Cornish gold.”

The exhibition runs at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth from Saturday March 4th until Saturday April 15th during Library opening hours.