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Portrait of Rugby Star to be housed in the National Library

A PAINTING of Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams is to join the art collection at The National Library of Wales.

Renowned Welsh portrait artist David Griffiths, who has depicted many of the UK's public figures during his 40-year career, painted the sportsman earlier this year.

The painting will now join other Griffiths portraits of eminent Welsh figures in the Aberystwyth-based National Library collection.

Shane Williams (35), who enjoyed a long and successful career as a wing for the Welsh team and the Ospreys, is the record try scorer for his country. He was selected as the IRB International Player of the Year in 2008 and has been described as one of the most exciting wingers in the world. He retired from international rugby earlier this year. During this year's National Eisteddfod at the Vale of Glamorgan he was honoured for his contribution to national life with a blue robe.

David, who was brought up in Pwllheli and trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, became famous for his painting of the Prince of Wales receiving the freedom of the city of Cardiff in the year of the Investiture, 1969. He has since depicted many famous public figures including Enoch Powell and the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan. Last year, his two portraits of former First Minister Rhodri Morgan were unveiled and are now housed in the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay as well as the National Library. He has also painted other sporting greats including Joe Calzaghe, Jack Matthews, Bleddyn Williams and Barry John.
David, who lives in the Roath area of Cardiff, said: "I am very interested in excellence and Shane, like other public figures I have painted, has excelled in his field - he is an iconic sportsman."

The portrait, which was painted in oils on a 30 x 40 inch-canvas over a period of six months, depicts Shane wearing his kit for his last international match - against Australia in December - including his "Bye Bye" boots.

Paul Joyner, Head of Archive and Art Acquisitions at the library, said: "This portrait of Shane by David Griffiths has a real sense of presence. We feel as though Shane has just walked in and will be ready in a moment to play another game for Wales. David has managed to capture Shane's unique sense of balance and his ability to capture our imagination with his amazing gift for retaining the ball and escaping the opposition to score many memorable tries."

Further Information

Elin Hâf, NLW Press Office 01970 632534

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