Born in Estonia, Benno Schotz came to Glasgow in 1913 to study engineering at Glasgow Royal Technical College. He then became a draughtsman with a Clyde shipping firm before going on to study sculpture at Glasgow School of Art. Schotz later became Head of the Sculpture and Ceramic Departments at the school in 1938. After his first one-man exhibition in 1926, Schotz became Scotland's leading portrait sculptor. Highly sensitive to the individuality of his subjects, Schotz worked very quickly and preferred his sitters to move and speak to him instead of being silent and still.