Special Collections & Archives


Arthur Williams Collection

In 2003 the Templeman Library purchased a collection of images of Arthur Williams, the comic actor and singer. Many of the pictures depict Williams in his famous roles.

View a chronology of Arthur Williams' life.

The collection was obtained for the University of Kent at Canterbury from Motley Books, Stockbridge, Hampshire. It will be added to the existing Pettingell Collection of Arthur Williams' printed and manuscript material. It spans the period 1860-1911.

It formerly belonged to Barry Duncan, by whom some of the handwritten notes with the photographs and other material may have been written; however, the handwriting has not been formally identified.

The photographs, programmes and playbills have handwritten notes added by Arthur Williams, often identifying other actors in the photographs and changes of cast on the playbills and programmes.


This collection contains:

  • 37 photographs of Arthur Williams in various roles throughout his career;
    accession code UKC/PHO/WIL
  • 14 programmes and playbills;
    accession codes UKC/PLA/WIL and UKC/PRG/WIL
  • a prompt copy of the text, "Leave it to me" by C.H. Hazlewood and Arthur Williams;
    accession number UKC/PRO/WIL
  • 3 letters; accession code UKC/LET/WIL
  • periodical and newspaper reviews. UKC/REV/WIL and UKC/NEW/WIL

You can view a list of theatres and actors mentioned in the collection.


Collection in brief

Contents: photographs, programmes, playbills, letters, reviews
Period: 1860-1911

Catalogued: yes,

Arthur Williams as Prospero in Ariel, by FC Burnand, 1883

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Last Updated: 24/09/2020