Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , MARGARET LINDSAY ( 1888 - 1960 ), artist ;

b. 18 June 1888 , daughter of Samuel Arthur Williams , Barry Dock, Glam. , who had a flourishing business as shipbroker in Cardiff , and Martha Margaret (née Lindsay ) his wife. The daughter had private tuition before entering Cardiff Technical College where she won a gold medal for art . After a year working in Pelham school of art , London , she moved to the Royal Academy in 1906 where she was a brilliant student, winning 4 silver medals , a travelling scholarship , a landscape prize , and in 1911 a gold medal for her painting ‘ The city of refuge ’. She received a number of important public commissions before she was thirty, including ‘ The Rt. Hon. Lloyd George, Prime Minister, unveiling the National Statuary at Cardiff ’, 1919 , and ‘ The National Welsh War Service in Westminster Abbey ’, 1924 . Among her early works are landscapes and titled paintings, some revealing an unusual and original imagination, such as ‘ The devil's daughter ’ and ‘ The triumph ’ which were exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1917 . Nevertheless, she inclined more and more to portraiture after the war and among her sitters were clients as varied as Henry Ford , Field Marshall Slim and Ivor Novello (see above) , as well as many members of the royal family.

Margaret Lindsay Williams worked for most of her life in London , but she was deeply committed to Wales and Welsh art. She was close to leaders of the national revival before World War I , when she portrayed Welsh topics as in her series of watercolours, ‘ Maidens of Llyn-y-fan ’. She enthusiastically supported the National Eisteddfod , and W. Goscombe John (see above) was one of her friends. It is appropriate that Sir O. M. Edwards ( DWB , 192-3) should be among the considerable number of Welshmen portrayed by her. It was she who created the image of him which remains in the minds of the public to the present day in the portait which she painted 26 yrs. after his death. Margaret Lindsay Williams was a member of the South Wales Art Society , the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and the Gorsedd of Bards . Examples of her work are at the National Museum of Wales and in private and public collections throughout south Wales . She d. 4 June 1960 .


  • Who was who? ;
  • N.M.W. archive;
  • see her autobiography, ‘Life was my canvas’, Western Mail , 3-11 Oct. 1960 ,
  • [ Angela Gaffney , Wedded to her art Margaret Lindsay Williams, 1888-1960 (Aberystwyth, 1999) (1999) ].


Peter Lord, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001