Louis Welden Hawkins grew up in Middlesex, the son of a German Baroness and a British Naval Officer. He moved to Paris at a young age where he lived until his death. Hawkins studied at the atelier Julien and we can assume that as a young painter in Paris he would have witnessed the enormous popularity in France of Pre-Raphaelite painting. Fame came early when in 1881 he was awarded a third class medal for Les Orphelins. In later years his style changed, moving away from the traditional realism derived from the teachings of Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884) and the artists' colony at Grez-sur-Loing to painting the nude and female figures in the symbolist style.