Born in Dumbarton, William Strang was briefly a clerk in the family shipbuilding firm before he entered the Slade School of Art in London in 1876. At the Slade he was deeply influenced by the teaching of Alphonse Legros, particularly the etching class which Legros instituted in 1877. The subject matter of Strang's etchings, largely produced between 1880 and 1900, ranges from intense portraits to scenes of working-class life and imaginary grotesques. By the turn of the century, Strang was developing the symbolic themes of his printed work in oil paintings, using rich colours in a style ultimately influenced by Venetian art. This atmospheric photogravure shows Strang preparing an etching plate, with the wheel of a printing press behind him.