Kit Williams is the bees-knees in puzzles and masquerades

kit williams - untitled bookChristopher ‘Kit’ Williams was born on 28th April 1946, in the English County of Kent. He is an artist, illustrator and author and best known for his book Masquerade (1979); a pictorial storybook which contained clues to the location of an 18 carat gold, jeweled hare created by Williams and then “buried” somewhere in Britain for the general public to find. Its clues sparked a treasure hunt by concealing clues to the location of a jeweled golden hare.  The hare was designed from 18 carat (75%) gold and jewels, and shaped in the form of a large filigree pendant on a segmented chain. Williams then sealed the hare inside a ceramic hare-shaped casket (both to protect the prize from the soil and foil any attempts to locate the treasure with a metal detector). The casket was inscribed with the legend “I am the Keeper of the Jewel of Masquerade which lies waiting safe inside me for You or Eternity“.  

Less than 10 years later, on December 11, 1988, The Sunday Times printed a story accusing the winner of the Masquerade contest of being a fraud.  The winner, “Ken Thomas”, was revealed to be a pseudonym of Dugald Thompson. Thompson’s business partner, John Guard, was the boyfriend of Veronica Robertson, a former live-in girlfriend of Williams. Guard had allegedly convinced Robertson to help him because both were said to be animal rights activists and Guard promised to donate any profits to the animal rights cause.

Following Masquerade‘s success, Williams wrote another puzzle book with a ‘bee theme’. It was published on May 24, 1984. This untitled book’s puzzle was to figure out its title and represent it without using the written word. At the onset Williams teases his readers with the following quote:

I have words to offer wisdom And pictures to delight
A story of a tragic Queen And a fearless knight.
But my name remains a secret It’s hidden here within
If you can but find it more treasure you might win.

This time the clues involved bees and the changing of the seasons.  Unlike Masquerade the answer to its title required no digging and it came with a year-and-a-day time limit; when the answer would be revealed on May 25, 1985. There is some indication that suggests that Williams 2nd book is called: “The bee on the comb” but I cannot confirm this.

Since writing these books, Williams has ventured into newer territories, designing fancy clocks. such as his Wishing Fish Clock, a centre-piece of the Regent Arcade shopping centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

  • Further clocks designed by Williams can be found at the Telford Shopping Centre and in the Midsummer Place section of Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre.
  • Williams was also involved in the design of the Dragonfly Maze in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, which comprises a yew maze with a pavilion situated in its centre.
  • In August 2009, Williams was reunited with the golden hare from “Masquerade” which he had not seen for more than 30 years. He is quoted as saying:

“I had not remembered it being as delicate as it is … Then when I picked it up the little bells jingled, and it sparkled in a way that I had forgotten as well.”

Hares excluded and masquerades lifted –  this leaves me with a bee in my bonnet, in an attempt to work out whether the solution is to “bee or not to bee (sic)” -that is the question!

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