Researchers in Wales have digitally reconstructed the face of Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh ruler who waged a revolt against English rule in the fifteenth-century. First revealed on the Welsh TV documentary The Face of Glyndŵr, it depicts 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.
Produced by Wild Dream Films and the Welsh channel S4C, the documentary 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.
Born in the mid-14th century, Glyndŵr was the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. In the year 1400, he led a Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. After being driven out of Wales, the English were able to regain control of the region, and Glyndŵr went into hiding in 1412. His final years are shrouded in mystery.