Public Art at Williams
Artesian Well Cover
Venetian, 13th century
Gift of the Estate of Elizabeth I.R. Viall
Photo by Megan Cross
An artesian well is a pumpless system of water delivery. Pressure builds up between layers of rock and forces water to the surface. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled artesian wells to obtain cold drinking water without the hassle of raising and lowering buckets.
This 13th century marble well cover, installed outdoors at the college’s Oakley Center for the Humanities, is adorned with botanical motifs and a variety of decorative carving. The work is attributed to a Venetian carver from a period of time in which Venice emerged as one of the most prosperous cities in the world, reinforced its reputation as a major trading and commercial center and, with the patronage of many powerful families, developed as a burgeoning milieu for art.