London 1908 – Llandaff 1982
C. Ivor Williams was born in London, son of the distinguished Welsh painter Christopher Williams RA (1873–1934). He trained at the Central School of Art and later the Slade School of Art, University of London where he was awarded first prize for portraiture. He shared with his father a particular aptitude for portraiture and large scale figure compositions; biblical and commemorative commissions which provided a regular income as a professional artist to support his family with whom he moved to Wales after the war. He exhibited regularly in one-man and group shows and contributed to national exhibitions: the Royal Academy, New English Art Club, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales.
His portrait commissions are numerous and these are represented in private and public collections throughout the country. The major public works include Field-Marshall Montgomery receiving the freedom of the City of Newport (1948), The Welsh Regiment receiving the freedom of the City of Cardiff (1950), Sir Winston Churchill receiving the freedom of the City of Cardiff (1956) and The Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle (1969).
In later years he devoted much of his time working on large religious subjects: The Healing of the Sick of the Palsy (1951–4), The Leaping Beggar (1960–61), The Raising of Lazarus (1967–9) and The Return of the Prodigal Son. Throughout his career he remained committed to the development and promotion of Art in Wales. He died at his home in Llandaff at the age of 74.
The Healing of the Sick of the Palsy (1951–54), measuring 7 x 9¼ ft, was the first of Williams' large biblical compositions on the theme of the universal teachings of Christ, of sickness and healing and faith triumphant. The painting is composed of thirty individual portraits of family, neighbours and friends. The artist attempted to create a painting that was 'timeless'; costumes are ancient and modern, and people of different races and ages are juxtaposed deliberately to emphasise Williams' belief that Christ speaks to all ages and regardless of the colour of their skin. In 1962 Williams loaned the painting to the Church of St Martin-in-the-fields, London where it remained for over twenty years before it was returned to his studio in Cardiff. In 1993 the artist's family presented the painting to the University, with fifty-six life drawings and studies for paintings dating from his Slade School days, and fourteen oil paintings, mostly portraits, spanning the artist's career.
Public Collections include The National Museum of Wales, The Contemporary Art Society of Wales, the National Library of Wales, Newport City Council and Cardiff City Council.