About Art Works

Dr Williams's Library is in the early stages of assessing its Art Collection which mainly consists of portraits. Whilst many of the artists are unknown, the collection does include works attributed to Henry Fuseli (1745-1825), Sir Godfrey Kneller (1630-1705), John Opie (1761-1807), William Artaud (1763-1823) and John Riley (1646-1691). The earliest portraits date from the sixteenth-century, but the strength of the collection is the seventeenth, and eighteenth-century portraits - often depicting puritan clerics and former trustees. The first gift of a portrait to Dr Williams’s collections was given in 1731 and was a portrait of Joshua Oldfield (1656-1729). The custom of giving portraits was well established by the 1750s.