William Painter (or Paynter; 1540? – February 1595, in London) was an English author and translator.
William Painter was a native of Kent. He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1554. In 1561 he became clerk of the ordnance in the Tower of London, a position in which he appears to have amassed a fortune out of the public funds. In 1586 he confessed that he owed the government a thousand pounds, and in the next year further charges of peculation were brought against him. In 1591 his son Anthony owned that he and his father had abused their trust, but Painter retained his office until his death. He made an oral will dated 14 February 1594 and died between 19 and 22 February 1595.
The Palace of Pleasure was edited by Joseph Haslewood in 1813. This edition was collated (1890) with the British Museum copy of 1575 by Mr. Joseph Jacobs, who added further prefatory matter, including an introduction dealing with the importance of Italian novella in Elizabethan drama.