WILLIAMS, Hugh William. Select Views in Greece with classical Illustrations, vols I-II, London, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green / Edinburgh, Adam Black, MDCCC.XXIX [=1829].


Hugh William Williams (1773-1829) was a British painter, descended from an ancient wealthy Welsh family. Having lost both his parents as a child, from 1784 he lived with his grandmother’s family in Scotland. Thanks to his grandfather’s support, he was able to study drawing and become a watercolour painter. In the years 1816-1818, Williams travelled to Italy, the northern Peloponnese, Central Greece and the Ionian Islands, a journey that marked his whole life. In 1819, he started publishing a series of works with subjects from his travels. In 1822 he held an exhibition of his Greek-themed works in Edinburgh, where most of his paintings are to be found today. The citations from ancient Greek and Latin authors, and British poets, which 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 artist-traveller the sobriquet “Grecian Williams”. Williams succeeded in uniting in a unique way a landscape represented in hazy outlines, and the force of the Ionic and Doric monuments standing clearly in the Greek light. Thus, the temples represented convey an awe-inspiring majesty in their simplicity, while the viewer is overwhelmed by nostalgic thoughts and reveries.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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