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Alfred W Williams

Biography of Artist

Exhibited 1843 - 1891
Born 18th July 1824, Southwark, London; died 16th December 1905 at 31 Francis Road, West Croydon. Alfred was one of identical twins: the other - Charles died shortly after birth. Alfred was the youngest of six brothers, all successful landscape artists and the son of Edward Williams who was also a well-known and respected painter. The Williams family is also related to James Ward RA: he was Edward Williams’s uncle and they were also related to John Jackson RA and another well-known and infamous painter called George Morland.
Alfred was living in the family home at 100 Cromer Street, London, when his work was first accepted for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1843. He became a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the last occasion being in 1890. He exhibited work at many other important exhibitions including the Society of British Artists, which, in 1887, became the Royal Society of British Artists. As the family became more successful they moved, in 1846, from Cromer Street to 32 Castlenau, Barnes, Surrey. This had a coach house, which is believed to have been used as the family studio. As the family became more successful they were often referred to as the Williams School of Artists and occasionally as the Barnes School. Alfred was close to S R Percy, the second youngest of the brothers, and lived with him and his new bride for a short while.
Alfred moved to West Street, Reigate, Surrey around 1860 and Ferncliff, Mead Vale, Redhill, Surrey in about 1870. The work of Alfred Walter Williams was in the tradition of the Williams School which is very much an integral part of the English School of landscape painting. They were an important family group and did much to popularise the typical English landscape of the rural idyll. The success of the family in varying degrees was from around the late 1830s to, perhaps, the earlier part of the 1870s. Then, the demand for traditional English painting was in decline. In some cases this was aggravated by economic depressions of which there were many during the lifetime of the senior members of the Williams family. This family should not be underestimated in the development of English painting as they were without doubt, commercially, the most successful of any of the Victorian family groups of painters. Alfred was a founder member of the important Holmesdale Fine Arts Club, which flourished in Reigate from around 1865.
Exhibited at:
Royal Institute of Painters in Oils x 42
Royal Academy x 76
Royal Society of British Artists x 79
Dudley Gallery, London x 3
New Gallery x 4
108 various others