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National Library prepares for Christopher Williams retrospective

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 15:46 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Staff at the National Library of Wales are gearing up for a major new retrospective of the works of Maesteg-born artist Christopher Williams.

The retrospective, which will feature around 150 paintings by the artist, is currently being set up at the Aberystwyth library ahead of the opening in July.

Inspecting a painting by Williams

Inspecting a painting by Williams

Removing one of Williams' pieces from Maesteg Town Hall

Removing one of Williams' pieces from Maesteg Town Hall

The curation of such a large exhibition sounds wonderfully artistic and creative doesn't it?

Yet there's some manual labour involved in the process too, if these pictures sent by the team at the National Library are anything to go by.

Williams is perhaps best known for his imposing classical subjects, including The Awakening of Wales and his large scale classical interpretations of the Mabinogion.

He was also a notable portrait painter and was commissioned to paint the portraits of important figures of the day, such as David Lloyd George, and commemorative paintings such as the Investiture of Edward, Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1911.

This retrospective will also show more the spontaneous paintings that Williams made of the Welsh coast, some of which have never been seen, which give an insight into the artist's personality and his love of Wales.

Removing one of Williams' pieces from Maesteg Town Council

Removing one of Williams' pieces from Maesteg Town Council

Williams gifted many of his paintings to his home town, so the library has been busy transporting many of the paintings from Maesteg in readiness for the exhibition.

Pieces from private and public collections have also been gathered for the retrospective.

The sheer size of some of the paintings going on show make manoeuvring them into position a little tricky: when was the last time you had to erect a scaffold to remove a painting from the wall in your front room?

The exhibition, Christopher Williams 1873-1934: A Retrospective, will run from 7 July until 22 September 2012 and will be officially opened by artist and former MP Kim Howells on Saturday 14 July.

Howells presented the 2011 BBC Wales series Framing Wales, which featured Williams and his works. Watch this clip from the series, in which he talks to Robert Meyrick, head of Aberystwyth School of Art, about the artist.

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