The National Library of Wales’ collection contains over 200,000 portraits spanning centuries of history, art, biography and fame. At its heart are portraits relating to Wales and the other Celtic nations. Portraits come in many forms - paintings, photographs, sculptures, engravings, drawings and various other media of artistic representations of a person, in which the face and expression are of primary importance.
The collection is impressive in its variety, ranging from the native Welsh artistic tradition of William Roos and Hugh Hughes; a selection of self-portraits and the works of some of the modern master portrait painters such as Sir Kyffin Williams, Will Roberts and David Griffiths, all of whom have kept alive the tradition of portraiture in Wales.
This exhibition displays portraits of notable men and women who have made a significant contribution to life in Wales.
This exhibition features includes framed works of art, portrait busts and photographs, under various themes, such as music, entertainment, sport, religion, politics, and the arts. This is by no means a definitive list of the famous faces of Wales, and aims only to highlight the richness and variety of the Library’s collection.
Since receiving funding from the Foyle Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation, steps have been taken to digitise part of the portrait archive. As a result, items will be available to view on our website from March 2010.
You can also upload and browse portraits opn the Library's Flickr group.