W. J. Williams: art decorator of Ayers House, North Terrace, Adelaide, Andrew Montana
At a heritage conference in Adelaide in 2015, Dr Donald Ellsmore attributed the superb interior decoration at Adelaide’s Ayers House and Gawler’s Para Para in South Australia to the Sydney decorating firm of Lyon, Cottier & Co. and their employee Charles Gow, purely on speculation. Till now, his opinion has gone unchallenged. By looking at the surviving artworks and researching contemporary journals, catalogues, directories and newspapers, Dr Andrew Montana refutes this attribution and restores William Joseph Williams and his workmen as the artists responsible. He shows that South Australia had its own pool of talented decorators and did not need to rely on importing skilled workmen from Sydney or Melbourne.