Evelyn Williams was a British artist known for her figurative paintings, drawings and sculptural reliefs. Born in London in 1929, Williams was the daughter of an opera singer and radical writer. She began her artistic studies at St Martin’s School of Art before continuing her education at the Royal College of Art in her native London. After receiving her diploma in 1950 Williams began her career in earnest, developing her distinctive figurative style to great acclaim. Initially celebrated for her unique style of children’s portraiture, which won her an Observer prize, the 1950s saw Williams branch away from more traditional images in favour of exploring large scale drawings and three-dimensional sculptural reliefs which depicted apocalyptic landscapes and quiet, ghostly figures. She was the recipient of the sculpture prize at the John Moores Liverpool exhibition in 1961 and, though the fashion of the time favoured the vibrant Pop Art movement, Williams work continued to impress critics in the years that followed with her muted colour palette and ethereal themes. Her career was punctuated at a very early stage by a retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1972, followed by several exhibitions as her well established sculptural career began to progress into a more varied body of work which grew to encompass drawings and paintings that were as broad in depth and as large in scale as her sculptural relief work.
Particularly evident in her painted works, Williams was able to portray a tender world where vision, dream and reality were shown as one. Williams’s attitude was as reflective in life as it was in her work. In 1993, the artist sold her house in order to raise money to establish a trust that would support young artists in the field of drawing. Since its conception, several Fellowships to leading art schools have been awarded by the Evelyn Williams Trust, continuing to promote the artist’s great legacy. Williams died in 2012. The expansive and enduring work of Williams can be seen in a number leading public collections across Britain.