Oil on canvas; labelled as by 'Mrs. Williams, Bedford Park, Chiswick'
15.5 x 27.5 inches
Mary Williams, a decorative artist who painted on various supports from china to firescreens, exhibited at the Society of Women Artists. She also embroidered, made prints, and in 1905 published a collection of ‘appropriate thoughts from well-known writers... printed in red and black, and artistically tied at the top with a ribbon’ (review, Light of Reason) entitled The New Thought Meditations. In 1903 she was Honorary Secretary of the Dress Designers’ Society, whose president was Walter Crane (honorary members, amongst others, included the sculptor George Meredith Frampton). A spinster, she lived in Bedford Park, Chiswick, in the 1880s, known as ‘the world’s first garden suburb’, developed by Jonathan Carr to designs by Godwin. It was the place for people of ‘artistic sensibility’ to live – WB Yeats, the actor William Terriss, the actress Florence Farr, the playwright Arthur Wing Pinero and the painter Camille Pissarro lived there. Bedford Park is ‘Saffron Park’ in GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday and ‘Biggleswick’ in John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast.