WILLIAMS, Hugh William
Hugh William Williams (1773-1829) was a British painter, descended from an ancient wealthy Welsh family. Having lost both his parents as a small child, from 1784 he lived with his grandmother’s family in Scotland. Thanks to his grandfather’s support, he was able to study and become a watercolour painter. In the years 1816-1818, Williams travelled to Italy, the northern Peloponnese, continental Greece and the Ionian islands, a journey which marked his whole life. In 1819, he started publishing a series of works with subjects from his travels. In 1822 he made an exhibition exclusively with his Greek-themed works in Edinburgh, where most of his paintings are to be found today. The citations from Greek and Latin authors and British poets that accompany his works are equal to his artistic achievement.
His highly personal style in rendering the Greek landscape and the monuments within it earned the traveller and artist the title of “Grecian Williams”. Williams managed to conjoin in a unique way a landscape represented in faint contours, and the force of Ionic and Doric monuments whose outlines stand perfectly clear against the Greek light. Thus the temples represented convey an awe-inspiring magnitude in their simplicity, while at the same time the viewer is overwhelmed by nostalgic thoughts and reminiscences.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou