Born in 1755, Stothard he entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1777 where he began long-term friendships with John Flaxman and William Blake. It was during this time at the Royal Academy that Stothard began producing illustrations for books, which was to become one of the most important and enduring aspects of his career. He illustrated some of the most well-loved books of the day, including the stories of Ossian, Burns, Chaucer and Defoe. Although book illustration was to be his most lucrative and steady income, he also made oil paintings and undertook some decorative work. In 1822 he painted the dome of the Advocate’s Library in Edinburgh. He held the position of librarian at the Royal Academy from 1812, until his death in 1834.