Peale executed this vivid portrait during a period of incessant experimentation with his paints. The artist, who was seeking stronger colors and bolder contrasts, realized those aims here, especially in the robust flesh tints and the fashionable costume. The change in palette as well as the direct gaze of his subject increased the realism of the work. The Philadelphia Windsor chair, with its green paint worn down to the grain, is convincingly rendered. Williams (1750–1822) was a quartermaster in the Maryland militia when he sat for Peale.
the sitter, Georgetown, District of Columbia, died 1822; his son, Otho Holland Williams, 1822–died 1869; his daughter, Sarah S. Williams (Mrs. William Ragan), Hagerstown, Maryland; her daughter, Ellen Williams Ragan (Mrs. Henry Bell), Hagerstown, Marylandied; her daughter, Coralie Livingston Bell (Mrs. J. Wyeth Douglas), Washington, D. C., 1936; with Macbeth Gallery, New York, by 1936; Arthur G. Camp, Litchfield, Connecticut, by 1941–1957; with Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1957; I. Austin Kelly III, Rye, New York, 1957–1967