In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Arthur Wardle was one of the best-known contemporary British animal painters. He portrayed an astonishing diversity of subjects with engaging naturalism and displayed a superb command of different media. Unlike most British animal and sporting artists, who restricted themselves to horse and hound, deer and domesticated animals, Wardle both drew and painted every mammal from elephant to mouse, in watercolor, pastel and oils. It is thought that Wardle was completely self-taught. His first work was accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1880, when he was just sixteen.