Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , LUCY GWENDOLEN ( 1870 - 1955 ), sculptress ;

b. in 1870 at New Ferry , near Liverpool , daughter of Henry Lewis Williams , priest , and Caroline Sarah (née Lee ) , his wife. Her father was the son of John Williams , Highfield Hall , Northop, Flints. , but Gwendolen Williams can hardly be said to be Welsh from the point of view of her professional dedication. She studied art under Alfred Drury at Wimbledon Art College before proceeding to the schools of the Royal Academy where she worked under Lantèri . Her sculptures were first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1893 , and, until the middle of World War I , she worked successfully in Rome , where she built workshops for herself and for other artists . From childhood she suffered from backache which became arthritic , compelling her to abandon her work. After returning to England , she recovered her health in the mid-1920s , and in 1926 she completed her most important work from a Welsh standpoint, namely a bust of Robert Owen ( 1771 - 1858 , DWB , 720-1) for Newtown Museum . She resumed her career and visited the U.S.A. , but did not succeed in re-establishing herself among the most important sculptors of her time. She lived in London for the rest of her life. She specialised in light and romantic bronze statuettes , and was fond of portraying heads of children. She also executed a number of portrait commissions. The National Library of Wales has a good collection of her work, including a copy of one of her best items, ‘ Chasing the butterfly ’, and there are also examples in the National Museum of Wales . Her sculptures and watercolours have been exhibited at the Royal Academy , annual exhibition at Liverpool , in the Paris Salon , and in Rome . She d. 11 Feb. 1955 .


  • N.M.W. archive;
  • Alumni Cantabrigienses 1752-1900 , 491;
  • see Who was who? for a list of her exhibitons.


Peter Lord, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001