William Lionel Wyllie studied at Heatherley's Art School and then joined the Royal Academy school in 1865. He is best known as an accomplished marine artist and in 1883 his painting of the Thames at Greenwich, called Toil, Glitter, Grime and Wealth on a Flowing Tide was purchased for the Chantrey Bequest. In 1889, he was elected A.R.A., by which time he had a house at Rochester and was painting predominantly subjects of the lower Thames and Medway. He spent much time on his yacht Ladybird and also worked as an illustrator for the Graphic. He was elected Royal Academician in 1909. When he died in 1931 the watercolours in his studio were purchased for the proposed National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.