Artesian Well Cover

13th century 
Artist unknown/Venetian

This 13th-century marble well cover sits outside the college’s Oakley Center for the Humanities. Sculpted leaves encircle its upper edge while on the main body, arches and columns frame the central plants, creating a garden scene that imitates the surrounding landscape. The work is attributed to a Venetian carver from the period when Venice emerged as one of the most prosperous cities and was a burgeoning center for artistic production. Yet, problems of water pollution expanded as cities and populations grew. While decorative, this cover also protected to a degree against contaminants falling into the community’s valuable water source. 

Gift to Williams College Museum of Art of the Estate of Elizabeth I. R. Viall. RC.70

Located behind Oakley Center.