William Rothenstein was born into a prosperous German Jewish family involved in the Bradford textile trade. Precociously talented, he studied at the Slade School of Art in London and the Académie Julian in Paris (1889-93), where he became a focus for English speaking artists and writers, including Sickert, Whistler, Degas, Verlaine and Oscar Wilde. On his return to London, he became a member of the New English Art Club with whom he frequently exhibited, although his conservative views of art led to his eventual withdrawal from the club. Increasingly in demand as a lecturer, Rothenstein became Principal of the Royal College of Art (1920-35) and a trustee of the Tate Gallery (1927-33). He died in 1945 at his home in Gloucestershire, where he had lived with his wife for over thirty years.