William Prinsep belonged to a large and well-known Anglo-Indian family, which produced a number of artists. His father John Prinsep of the East India Company, often regarded as the founder of the indigo trade in India, had seven sons, all of whom followed him to India as traders, lawyers or civil servants. William, the fifth son, worked for the House of Palmer & Co., bankers and merchants, in Calcutta. He took lessons in painting from George Chinnery and was a prolific amateur artist. Prinsep worked in Macao (where Chinnery had settled) from the late 1830s until his journey home to England in 1842. He met Borget there in the autumn of 1838 and an album of Macao sketches sold in these rooms (12 Nov. 1991 lot 114) included Macao views dated from May 1839-August 1841. He returned overland to England in 1842.