The National Library of Wales’s Portrait Collection is the largest collection of Welsh portraits in the world, comprising over 65,000 items in many different media, from pencil sketches to photographs, engravings and framed works of art. Prominent figures from Welsh history are represented in the collection, from the earliest times to the present day.
The Library has been acquiring portraits by purchase, bequest and gift, since receiving its Royal Charter in 1907. The ongoing development of the portraits collection conforms to the National Library’s mission, directed by the Library’s Charter, to: ‘collect, preserve and give access to all kinds and forms of recorded knowledge, especially relating to Wales and the Welsh and other Celtic peoples, for the benefit of the public, including those engaged in research and learning.’
The National Library has been fortunate to receive funding from the Foyle Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation to digitise 15,000 items from its Welsh Portrait Archive. Images have been digitally captured by the Library’s Digitisation Unit, producing digital preservation copies and images suitable for presenting via the web. Project cataloguers have produced records conforming to internationally recognised standards, to accompany each item. The images will be searchable as a collection via the Library’s Catalogue in the near future.