Oil on canvas, signed
William Oliver ‘Rhys’ Williams was born in St Pancras, London in 1854. He was the son of the artist William Oliver Williams known as William Oliver (1823-1901) and Jane Hughes. The family names of Oliver and Rhys were used to differentiate between the two. He lived with his family at Harrington Gardens, Kensington and Hungerford Road, Islington.
He started exhibiting from 1876 using his adopted name. Rhys exhibited eight works at the Royal Academy in addition to numerous others at the prestigious Grosvenor Gallery, and the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Royal Society of British Artists. He painted genre scenes and portraits and was influenced by his father. He was amongst a group of artists which included Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Godward, William Stephen Coleman, George Bulleid, William Anstey Dolland and Norman Prescott-Davies and who produced classically-influenced works known as the ‘toga and terrace’ or ‘marble school’.
He also produced a number of illustrations for the Atalanta magazine from 1894 to 1897. Examples of his paintings are held by the National Trust, Newton Abbot Museum and Lancaster Maritime Museum.
The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.