The son a of wealthy Glasgow businessmen, Mann abandoned his expected career in business to study art in Paris in 1877. After entering the Académie Julian, one of the most influential Parisian ateliers, Mann studied with the fashionable portrait painter Carolus-Duran whose studio was much frequented by Americans including John Singer Sargent. Mann’s profound response to the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage and the Barbizon painters, notably Jean-François Millet, was reflected in his own preference for and treatment of rustic subjects. During the 1890s and early 1900s, Mann settled in rural Berkshire. There, he painted several pictures with a sheep motif. Despite their apparent realism, some are thought to have Biblical associations with the theme of The Good Shepherd or the Lamb of God.