A number of items that belonged to Henry or William Williams are now in New Zealand museums, including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Tairawhiti (Gisborne) Museum and the MTG Hawkes Bay in Napier. We hope to show some items from these collections in due course.
In addition family members still hold a number of interesting objects in their private collections. We should like to showcase photographs of these, with the owners’ permission. If you have items which you feel would be of general interest and are happy for these to be on our website, please contact us.
Henry Williams Candlesticks
This pair of almost identical bronze candlesticks was owned by Henry Williams and presumably used in an ecclesiastical setting. His son Thomas Coldham Williams inherited them and in turn passed them to his eldest son, Hugh. They are now owned by Antonia and Charlotte Williams, Hugh’s grand-daughters.
Items in Museums and Private Collections
William Williams Desk
This solid Victorian desk was made in New Zealand for William Williams, possibly around 1865-70. He was consecrated Bishop of Waiapu in 1859 and the desk might have been made for his new accommodation of Bishopscourt in Napier. It is in three separate pieces – two pedestals with four drawers each and a top piece with three drawers. The original leather top has been replaced. On this desk William would have worked on his Maori translations of the Bible and his dictionary. The desk was handed down to his son, Leonard, and grandson Herbert, both of whom were also Bishops of Waiapu and editors of the Williams Maori dictionary. The desk is owned by Sheila Williams who intends to donate it to the Williams Museum Trust in due course.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS DESK
Marianne's Writing Desk
Even without its historical associations, this lovely Victorian writing desk with its elaborate finishings and contents would be a treasured item. It belonged to Marianne Williams whose gift to us has been the lively letters that she wrote to her family. A collection of these is in the book “Letters from the Bay of Islands” edited by Caroline Fitzgerald, which has proved to be a best seller because of the vivid descriptions of the difficult early years in Paihia. The writing desk is owned by a family member in the United Kingdom.
Wooden Deck Chair
On the veranda of Butler House at the Butler Point Whaling Museum sits this wooden deck chair. The founder of the museum, Lindo Ferguson, bought the chair from a local dealer who said it used to belong to Marianne Williams and thus would have been at The Retreat, probably also on the veranda at that house. Visit for more information about this excellent private museum in Northland.