Historical information

Williams' use of the dog and poem was inspired by a print by the late Barbara Hanrahan (an artist friend) in which a women was holding a cat accompanied by a dog and in which words from a William Blake poem were included / After her mother died Williams made a work of her mother with the dog, holding the cat and using the same words in the Hanrahan print / The dog is a family pet; Dolcie, that Williams fell in love with / The dog as a symbol has been used in fifteenth and sixteenth century painting to represent fidelity in marriage / The use of the dog is also a contradiction to the themes in this work by Williams / Williams found that many of her women friends were having emotional and romantic difficulties, suffering from the same malady again and again, feeling rejected, destroyed and having unfulfilled desires / The female figure standing on her hands is not seeing things realistically / The figure is head over heels, vulnerable, with her skirt around her head revealing more than normal / The text enhances the meaning of the work and draws the viewer into experiencing the foolishness of love, demanding the viewer travel around and around to read it / Overall the dog provides structure to the work and a reliable object on which all else balances / Balance has been one of the recurring or repetitive themes within William's work / It references the physicality of clay, the difficulties in creating balance with the clay and balance in the work / Williams' work is about form rather than colour / Sometimes she uses a coloured clay like a pale terracotta / Williams likes the flatness of the surface in relationship to the marks of the text / She describes herself as a Minimalist, paring down the form to the bare essentials.


'In Love' was a finalist in the 1997 Nillumbik Art Award held at the Eltham Community and Reception Centre, Pitt Street, Eltham.

Physical description

A ceramic sculpture made of white stoneware clay (coated with a wash of gesso) of a girl doing a hand stand on the back of a dog (retriever?) / Her face/head is partially covered by her skirt which has come down / Her skirt is inscribed in the round with the poem "The Lady's First Song" (1938) by W.B. Yeats (see inscriptions and markings) / The dog is looking straight ahead and upwards towards the sky and his tail is pointing straight out.

Inscriptions & markings

The dog is covered with cross-hatch incised lines to give the illusion of fur and texture / Hand written inscription of W.B. Yeats poem "The Lady's First Song" (1938) on girl's skirt / I turn round / Like a dumb beast in a show. / Neither know what I am / Nor where I go, / My language beaten / Into one name; / I am in love / And that is my shame. / What hurts the soul / My soul adores, / No better than a beast / Upon all fours.