Little is known of the life of William Gandy. He is thought to have been born around 1655 and is known to have been in London by 1681 when he registered with the Dublin Company of Painter Stainers. From documentary evidence it is known that he was in Dublin in 1686-87 and at least two portraits of Irish sitters painted by him can be dated to the 1690s. He then seems to have gone to England (in about 1700) where he painted a portrait of Master Willcocks, son of the Sheriff of Exeter, which is his finest known work. He does not seem afterwards to have returned to Ireland, and most of his known portraits were painted in the vicinity of Exeter, where he is thought to have lived until his death in 1729. For further information on the artist see J. Fenlon, 'The Talented and idle Mr Gandy in Ireland', Irish Arts Review, Vol. 12, 1996, pp.131-8.