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Williams, William ( June 1727–27 April 1791), novelist and painter, was baptized on 14 June 1727 in Bristol, England, the son of William Williams, probably a mariner, and Elizabeth (Belshire?). As a boy Williams attended the Bristol Grammar School, but his preferred classroom seems to have been a local artist’s studio, where he began to develop his interest in painting as a profession. Williams’s parents had more practical plans for their son, however, and when Williams was perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old, he was bound as an apprentice to a captain in the Virginia trade. This arrangement proved to be short lived. Dissatisfied with his appointed career, Williams abandoned his position at the earliest convenience and fled to the West Indies. Many years later the renowned artist ...