Etty was a fortunate young artist, for his uncle’s wealth and generosity afforded him the opportunity to move from Yorkshire to London to study. In 1806 he gained a place at the Royal Academy Schools. There, he was inspired by John Opie’s lectures on history painting, which extolled the work of Titian and Rubens. Etty travelled extensively throughout Europe to study works by the Old Masters, and was especially attracted to the paintings by Venetian artists. By 1825 he had been elected Royal Academician, largely because of his success as a history painter. Etty was renowned for his ability to paint sensuous female nudes. Some critics accused him of using the naked form gratuitously, but despite this, Etty’s work remained popular throughout his life.