Kit Williams

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Kit Williams
Kit Williams.jpg
Kit Williams (2010)
Born (1946-04-28) 28 April 1946 (age 69)
Kent, England
Nationality English
Known for Painting, books, clocks
Detail of artist Kit Williams' Macaroon Painting showing his elaborate marquetry in both the frame and a pull-out pivoting panel featuring a lark.

Christopher 'Kit' Williams (born 28 April 1946 in Kent, England) is an English artist, illustrator and author best known for his 1979 book Masquerade, a pictorial storybook which contains clues to the location of a golden (18 carat) jewelled hare created by Williams and then buried "somewhere in Britain".[1]

Williams published three other books and was commissioned to create three public clocks with elaborate mechanisms and moving parts, such as animals, for visual interest.

Williams continues to paint figurative art at his studio in Gloucestershire, England.


Macaroon (2013) by Kit Williams

Kit Williams now primarily works as a figurative painter in which he uses traditional oil-painting techniques, fashioning first a wooden panel covered in linen and oil gesso. He then uses many layers of opaque and transparent Dutch oil paint to create highly luminous images.

Williams likes to maintain complete control of every aspect of his artwork including making the clothes worn by the models, creating sets and props, and often making mechanisms either within the frame or the painting that reveal moving elements of the artwork and encourage interaction by the viewer.

Using marquetry techniques, he has always made his own frames which enables him to make pictures of any shape and allow elements of the picture to continue into the frame in often intricate detail.[2]

Past Work[edit]

Masquerade, 1979
The Golden Hare crafted by Kit Williams himself

As well as his most well known book Masquerade, Williams wrote another puzzle book with a bee theme; the puzzle was to figure out the title of the book and represent it without using the written word. This competition ran for just a year and a day and the winner was revealed on the live BBC TV chatshow Wogan.

In 1985, Kit Williams designed the Wishing Fish Clock, a centrepiece of the Regent Arcade shopping centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Over 45 feet tall, the clock features a duck that lays a never-ending stream of golden eggs and includes a family of mice that are continually trying to evade a snake sitting on top of the clock. Hanging from the base of the clock is a large wooden fish that blows bubbles every half-hour. Catching one of these bubbles entitles you to make a wish, hence the name of the clock.

Other clocks designed by Williams can be found in Telford Shopping Centre and in the Midsummer Place section of Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre.

The Wishing Fish Clock, Regent Arcade, Cheltenham

Williams was also involved in the design of the Dragonfly Maze in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England, which comprises a yew maze with a pavilion at the centre. The object is not only to reach the pavilion, but to gather clues as one navigates the maze. Correctly interpreting these clues when one reaches the pavilion allows access to the maze's final secret.

Masquerade and the Golden Hare[edit]

In August 2009, Kit Williams was reunited with the golden hare which he had not seen for more than 30 years.[3] He is quoted as saying:

"I had not remembered it being as delicate as it is ... Then when I picked it up the little bells jingled, and it sparkled in a way that I had forgotten as well."

This reuniting was revealed in a BBC Four sixty-minute documentary on Williams's work, The Man Behind The Masquerade on 2 December 2009, beginning with Masquerade and ending with an exhibition of the best 18 pieces of his art from the last thirty years at London's Portal Gallery, which had first exhibited his work in the 1970s. The programme showed Williams being reunited with the golden hare for the first time when it was loaned by its anonymous present owner in the Far East.[4]

The hare was on display at the V&A Museum, London, as part of its "British Design 1948–2012" retrospective from 31 March to 12 August 2012.[5]

Select bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, Scot (January 1982). "Buried Treasure". Omni 4 (4): 126. 
  2. ^ "Kit Williams' Official Website : About Kit Williams". 
  3. ^ Douglas, Torin (20 August 2009). "Artist reunited with golden hare". BBC News. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "BBC Four reunites artist Kit Williams with the missing Golden Hare". BBC Press Office. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Michael, Apphia. "'British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age' at the V&A, London". Retrieved 4 April 2012. 

External links[edit]