THE last portrait of writer Dylan Thomas, painted two months before his death, is to return to his adopted home county.

Today, Friday May 14, on International Dylan Thomas Day, Carmarthenshire County Council has revealed it has paid £15,000 at auction for the picture.

The council’s museum service, CofGâr, took delivery of the painting this week after it had remained in the private collection of the artist, Gordon Stuart, until his death in 2015.

Painted in September 1953, it has only been seen publicly on two occasions – at the 1954 National Eisteddfod and sixty years later at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the childhood home of Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas is celebrated as the most significant writer of the 20th century in Wales. This painting was one of four painted over three afternoons at the poet’s Boathouse and Writing Shed in Laugharne.

Two of the four oil paintings are in the State University of New York in Buffalo and the third is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

The painting was bought at auction from the artist’s estate at the Rogers Jones & Co Welsh Sale on April 17 for a hammer price of £15k.

The purchase was made possible with contributions from Art Fund and the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the National Lottery.

The council's executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing this painting back to where Dylan Thomas spent his last years. It will take pride of place in the new gallery at Carmarthenshire Museum later this year for everyone to enjoy.”

The painting will be professionally conserved before going on display in a new gallery at Carmarthenshire Museum from September. It will then go on tour to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and other venues in the region before returning to Carmarthenshire.

Auctioneer, Ben Rogers Jones, said: “We were privileged to auction the last portrait of Dylan Thomas created before his untimely death, and we are delighted to see that the painting has stayed in Wales.

"But to know that the portrait will now visit the iconic boathouse is the icing on the cake. As the boathouse was Dylan’s last home, it does feel like the painting has come home to him.”