Her “undoubted genius”

When Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams died in 1934, the Scotsman referred to her “undoubted genius”, and it was no exaggeration. Her humanity and technical skill are there for all to see in The Spirit of the Crusaders, in Paisley (1924) and in a dozen pieces for the Scottish National War Memorial (1927), which led the memorial’s historian Duncan Macmillan to describe her as its “star sculptor”.

Alice Meredith Williams working on one of the four angels for the Shrine of the Scottish National War Memorial.
The Scotsman, 5 March 1934

“Her work is beautiful,” he has written. “In the biased perspective of conventional art history it may seem conservative, but due to its scale and enduring public impact, Williams was probably the most important woman artist of the 1920s.”
The Scotsman, 13th December 2018

The Spirit of the Crusaders, Paisley War Memorial, 1924. A collaboration with architect Robert Lorimer

Alice was a prize-winning student at Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art. In 1900 she won a £60 travel scholarship and took herself to Paris, where she stayed for five years, studying and making work like the two pieces below.

Grief, 1903
Sleeping Mother and Child, 1903