William Kidd was born in Edinburgh 1796, and at an early age he was apprenticed to James Howe, the animal painter. He first exhibited a painting aged just thirteen. He was a prolific painter but little detail is known of his life. He was industrious, and his pictures possess distinct merit. Kidd specialised in humorous genre painting, and also contributed illustrations to editions of Walter Scott and Robert Burns’ work. He was a contemporary of David Wilkie, whose work was very influential for Kidd. He was elected an Associate of the Scottish Academy at its foundation in 1827 and an Honorary Member when he moved to London in 1829. The last decade of his life was speckled with a number of unfortunate events and the deaths of a number of his family. His output dwindled in the years before his death in 1863.