Keeneland

Peter Williams, who painted the swirl of the Keeneland paddock live, dies

Artist Peter Williams, shown in October 2002, often painted scenes from the paddock at Keeneland.  Williams died Monday at age 84.
Artist Peter Williams, shown in October 2002, often painted scenes from the paddock at Keeneland. Williams died Monday at age 84. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

You may never have known his name, but if you went to Keeneland on a crisp fall day or a soft spring afternoon for racing, you probably saw Peter Williams.

The New Zealand native regularly painted in the paddock at Keeneland and at Churchill Downs, capturing the swirl of horses and people on his canvas as people watched.

Williams died Monday at age 84 in his home in Goshen, Ky., according to equine industry publications. According to a statement, Williams died of the effects of Lyme disease and dementia.

After pursuing a career in art, Williams met equine artist Richard Stone Reeves, which led to a commission to paint racing scenes, according to The Blood-Horse.

Besides horses, Williams also painted seascapes, vintage automobiles, flower gardens, architecture, landscapes and special events, always from life and almost always in oil. He was twice invited by Queen Elizabeth II to paint the Sandringham Estate Carriage Trials.

A celebration of Williams’ life will be held at the opening reception for his upcoming exhibition, “Peter Williams: Painted from Life,” at the Headley Whitney Museum in Lexington on Sept. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

  Comments