William Williams


'William Williams' can also refer to...

William Williams (c. 1780—1840) Independent minister

William Williams (1800—1878) linguist and first bishop of Waiapu in New Zealand

William Williams (1717—1791) religious revivalist and writer

William Williams (1731—1811) politician in America

William Williams (1738—1817) antiquary

William Williams (1788—1865) politician

William Williams (1801—1869) Congregational minister and poet

Williams, William

Williams, William

William Henry Williams Strachan (1859—1921) colonial medical officer

Sir William Williams (1634—1700) lawyer and politician

Sir William Emrys Williams (1896—1977) educationist and publisher

Sir William Fenwick Williams (1800—1883) army officer

William Carlos Williams (1883—1963) American poet, essayist, novelist, and short-story writer

William Crwysfab Williams (1875—1968) poet and Congregational minister

William Henry Williams (1771—1841) physician

William Llewelyn Williams (1867—1922) politician and author

William Mattieu Williams (1820—1892) science teacher and industrial chemist

William Peere Williams (1665—1736) law reporter


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Painter. Chiefly a portraitist, he adapted rococo style for an American audience. His paintings display precise detail, delicate coloring, and imaginative charm. Williams's wide range of pursuits and his colorful life suggest an inventive, adventurous personality. Like many colonial artists, he engaged in a range of income-producing activities besides painting. Offering instruction in music and drawing, he was ready also to paint signs and ships as well as undertake other forms of decoration, restoration, and framing. In 1759 he received handsome pay for stage sets, probably the first professionally executed in the colonies. His novel, The Journal of Llewellin Penrose, A Seaman, may have been the first written in North America, although it was not published until 1815 and then only in altered form in England. (An accurate text appeared in the United States in 1969.) As well as conversation pieces adapted from an English fashion, he also apparently painted a few independent landscapes. His personal library of imported books and prints further contributed to his impact on American art. Williams was born in Bristol, England. Apprenticed as a mariner, he abandoned his ship to live for two or three years in the Caribbean before arriving in Philadelphia in 1747. Except for a sojourn in the West Indies between 1760 and 1763, he remained in that city until 1769, when he moved to New York. In 1776 he resettled in London, but several years later moved to Bristol, where he died. Among relatively few surviving works, his full-length representation of fifteen-year-old Philadelphian Deborah Hall (Brooklyn Museum, 1766) numbers among the most imposing. Fashionably attired, she appears in an elaborate outdoor garden setting that provides a dignified ambience of wealth and privilege. Additionally, the surroundings probably allude to her personal attributes through symbolic elements derived from current emblem books.

Subjects: Art.

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