Will Roberts

Will Roberts (21 December 1907 – 11 March 2000) was a Modern painter from Wales.

Roberts was born in Ruabon, Denbighshire, the son of a railwayman of the Great Western Railway. The family moved to Neath in Glamorgan in 1918 and he studied at Swansea School of Art. Roberts met the Polish artist Josef Herman in 1945. At that time Herman was living in the neighbouring town of Ystradgynlais and they often painted together. Later Roberts was to acknowledge Herman’s influence on his work. In 1962, Roberts won the Byng-Stamper Prize for landscape painting, judged by Sir Kenneth Clark. In 1992 he was awarded an honorary Fellowship by University College, Swansea, and in 1994 a retrospective exhibition of his work was the centrepiece of the arts exhibit at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. In 1998 the National Library of Wales accepted a donation of 600 drawings from Roberts.

He died in Neath, where his charcoal drawings of the Stations of the Cross may be seen in St David’s Church. He is now widely acknowledged as one of Wales’s modern masters and some of his most striking works are of Welsh industrial landscapes. A memorial exhibition of drawings and some paintings was shown at the National Library of Wales in 2001.

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