Alice Meredith Williams

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The "Spirit of the Crusaders", on the Paisley War Memorial

Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams (1877 – 3 March 1934), who generally went by the name of Alice Meredith Williams,[1] was a British sculptor, painter, illustrator and stained glass designer.

Life[edit]

She was born in Liverpool, the ninth of the ten surviving children of Dr David Williams (b. 1833), a surgeon, and his wife Sarah Bland. As a teenager she was privately tutored in still life and landscape painting by R. A. M. Stevenson, Professor of Fine Arts at Liverpool's University College. In her early twenties she won a scholarship to attend Liverpool School of Architecture and Fine Art, where she trained under Charles Allen and Robert Anning Bell. Here she was honed as an architectural sculptor. In 1900 she won a travelling scholarship from the City Council and move to Paris where she worked and studied for five years, attending the Academie Colarossi and learning from, among others, Jean Antoine Injalbert, René Prinet, and Emmanuel Frémiet. It is said her work was also criticised positively by Auguste Rodin.[2]

In 1902, in Paris, she met the artist Morris Meredith Williams, four years her junior. Having decided to marry, he left Paris in 1905 for a part-time job as drawing master at Fettes College in Edinburgh. Alice moved temporarily back to Liverpool and lived with two of her sisters while seeking commissions and working, for a few months, for Harold Rathbone at the Della Robbia Pottery. She married Williams in 1906 and they moved into a flat at 27 Danube Street, Edinburgh. Three years later they crossed the road to a larger flat at no. 38.[3] From 1916 to 1919, while Morris was serving in the Army in France, she relocated to Peppard near Henley-upon-Thames. In 1929 she and her husband moved to Devon, renting North Wyke manor which lies between North Tawton and South Tawton.

Meredith Williams died of cancer in Devon on 3 March 1934.[2] She is buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's in South Tawton, beneath a stone designed by her husband.

Work[edit]

Meredith Williams's memorial works include a war memorial for Queenstown, South Africa; the "Spirit of the Crusaders", a sculptural group for the Paisley War Memorial, designed by Sir Robert Lorimer; and a carved wooden reredos for St. James the Less Episcopal Church in Penicuik (1921). She also created twelve works for the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle (1927), including the figure of St. Michael hovering over the casket containing the names of the dead (carved by the Clow Brothers), and the frieze in the Shrine, designed by her husband Morris. She exhibited works at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy of Arts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Scotsman: Death of Mrs Meredith Williams, 5 March 1934
  2. ^ a b Strang, Alice (2015). Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885–1965. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland. ISBN 978-1-906270-89-6.
  3. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory, 1910–11

Further reading[edit]

  • Shaw, Phyllida (2017). An Artist's War: the art and letters of Morris and Alice Meredith Williams. Stroud: History Press. ISBN 9780750982382.

External links[edit]