A WORLD first exhibition of solo work by 19th century artist William Roos is being held in Llangefni

Amlwch-born Roos (1808-1878) was one of Wales’ most successful portrait painters.

He was known for his paintings of the famous people of nineteenth century Wales.

The pictures were often created from memory but he also painted landscapes and was commissioned to paint families and animals.

The exhibition will be the first time so many paintings by Roos will be together.

The show has been curated by renowned art historian Peter Lord.

It opened at Oriel Môn, Llangefni, earlier this month and will be on until July 5, 2020.

Support from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund has ensured the loan and conservation of William Roos’ work from national collections of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and the National Library of Wales.

Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme enabling smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections.

Councillor R. Meirion Jones, education, youth, libraries and culture ortfolio lead, said: “It is important that works from national collections that are relevant to Anglesey and Wales can be hosted at a venue like Oriel Môn.

"The loans of work by William Roos and the exhibition will give prominence to the work of a local artist who contributed so much to our national story."

Sophia Weston, trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase William Roos’ work to a much wider audience.

"We are delighted that the exhibition will shed new light on Roos’ talents and introduce his work to visitors who may not be familiar with his paintings and their significance to Welsh culture.”

One of the four paintings on loan from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is a painting of John Jones, Talhaiarn titled ‘The Bard in Meditation,’ c.1850-1864.

John Jones, Talhaiarn was a famous poet, as well as a friend and admirer of the artist, He commissioned a number of portraits of himself by Roos.

The Bard in Meditation is described as "a remarkable likeness" to the sitter but also demonstrates Roos’ knowledge of a Welsh visual tradition, with references to bardic imagery.

The painting of Margaret Thomas, Llangaffo, is one of 20 works that will be on loan from the National Library of Wales.

It is one of his most highly finished works and an example of the prosperous farming families that Roos who commissioned him as he travelled looking for work. He also painted her husband Hugh and the couple's sons.

Alongside loans from national collections and private individuals there will also be two works that are new to Oriel Môn.

Esther Roberts, senior manager at Oriel Môn, wrote “As part of a wider project to bring attention to the genius of William Roos, Oriel Môn have been able to secure two paintings by William Roos for its collection. Previously, he was not represented.

"The support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled the purchase and conservation of two paintings for the Oriel Môn collection."

Stephen Barlow, head of engagement for the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, said: “Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, Oriel Môn is able to add to its public collection by purchasing and conserving two paintings by the renowned local artist, William Roos.

"For the first time, Oriel Môn will now exhibit and interpret William Roos' work to those who visit and live on Anglesey,"

"They will be in their ownership, and will encourage people to take part in interpreting his life and work, providing insight to a local artist that was one of Wales’ most successful portrait painters."

William Roos made a living in across Wales, Liverpool and London. He became an exemplar of nineteenth century painting practice in Britain, athough few people are aware of Roos’ significance.

The exhibition runs February 1 until July 5, 2020, the exhibition is free. Oriel Môn is open daily, 10am-5pm.

Signed copies of Peter Lord’s new book, William Roos and the Itinerant Life, published by Oriel Môn, 2020, supported by The Oriel Môn Trust are also available.

There will also be a number of related community and schools workshops as well as events for the public including lectures and a portrait drawing sessions.