Richard working on some early pieces aged 12 and 17.
Richard James Hughes was born in East Glamorgan Hospital on 18th June 1959. He was educated in Parclewis Primary and Pontypridd Boys Grammar School. He left school in 1976 before completing his A- Levels to join the family firm, although he had been working there in a professional capacity since he was 12 years old!
Richard making a mould of a Miner in, what is now, our museum.
Encouraged and inspired by the work of his father and their shared love of the game of Rugby Union, Richard began a 30-year apprenticeship at the clay face. He started by making Welsh Celts following John’s example, but was soon inspired by the likes of JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards and Mervyn Davies. Early on, Richard took over the making of named Groggs and likenesses from John and from the age of 17 to the present day has been solely responsible for that aspect of the Groggs.
Richard working on the Mervyn Davies Bust and Muhammad Ali.
Over the years, Richard’s style has diverted somewhat from the traditional Grogg idiom. However, he reserves a love for the caricature form, as well as more academic studies. His only bugbear is even though he can capture a likeness quickly, his insistence on a quality product means it takes a long time to finish each figure, much to the frustration our eager customers!
Richard in his own words....
Favourite Films: King Kong (the original) – a huge influence on my life! Also, Blade Runner, The Jerk, Clueless, Jaws, Seventh Seal and any Hammer films or Black & White movies made in Britain between 1939 and 1969.
Favourite Music Artists: Bob Dylan and David Bowie – are my major inspirations but also Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bjork, Brian Eno, Ry Cooder, Leonard Cohen, Prince - the list is endless.
Favourite Albums: Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves – without this record my wife probably wouldn’t have married me! Also Station to Station (Bowie), Hounds of Love (Kate Bush), Court and Spark (Joni Mitchell), Ten New Songs (Leonard Cohen), Zuma (Neil Young) - again I could go on and on and often do!
Favourite Song : Dump the Dog by Loundon Wainwright III - sums up the farce human life is.
Favourite Food: Curry – tough call between this and chilli, but curry gets the vote! A good lamb madras - mmm! Also choclit - I will eat anything except dark choclit, dark choclit is my kryptonite.
Favourite Sporting Moment: Wales versus England, Wembley 1999 – After all the highs of the 70s and the lows of the 80s and 90s this was such sweet revenge. Wales at the 2015 World Cup against England comes a close second.
Favourite Try: 'If we discount the obvious of Wembley '99, Roy Beriers' charge down for Llanelli against NZ is probably the score that started by obsession with the game & yes, I was there! Any Shane Williams try - I miss him so much - what a player.
Favourite Place: The Taff River – it was the Arms Park before they knocked it down, and Sardis Road before they stole our rugby, but nothing ‘nothing beats watching the river flow’. My studio when the sun is shining and one of my fave albums is blasting and the clay is slowly building.
Favourite Foreign Destination: Amalfi in Italy – a piece of heaven on earth. Paris and London - busier but full of inspirational art.
Favourite Artist: Bernini & Velázquez both audacious talents.
Biggest Influence: My father.
Favourite Hobby: Fly fishing and watching as much rugby as humanly possible.
Favourite Book: ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway – I don’t read many books twice, but I read this often. Also The Leopard by Lampedusa.
Favourite TV Programme: ‘South Park - never fails to cheer me up! Plus I still love Monty Python especially Pantomine Horse and Alan Partridge is probably my favourtie TV Character.
Favourite Actor: Peter Cushing - no matter what film he was in - be it low budget or major production he never failed to give a classic performance.
Favourite Actress: Bette Davis for acting and Hazel Court for looks.
Favourite Comedian: Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais & Richard Herring.
Favourite Author: Ernest Hemingway – in his prime he was a one-off.
Dislikes: People who copy other people’s work, liars and rip-off merchants.
Ambitions: To make a 60 feet statue of Neil Jenkins to be situated on Ponty common, overlooking the town and to carry on doing what we are for as long as we can.
Favourite Saying: “It is the tragedy of human endeavour that so much, so often goes unseen and unnoticed” – Somerset Maugham.
Sporting Hero: Neil Jenkins – not because of his obvious talents on the rugby field but because of the way he handled the unfair and misdirected criticism he was dealt when he was a player. To me he sums up Hemingway’s definition of courage, ‘Grace under pressure’.
Favourite Grogg: 'Sounds big headed but the Large Eric Cantona is the piece I still enjoy looking at everyday'.