The gifted painter-etcher Paul-Albert Besnard was born in Paris in 1849. Brought up by his mother after his father’s premature death, Albert Besnard was educated from the outset with the aim of becoming an artist. By 1869 he had begun printmaking and by 1874 he had won the Prix de Rome for painting. In 1879 he moved to England where he became acquainted with Whistler, Bracquemond and, above all, Alphonse Legros. Legros exerted a tremendous influence upon Albert Besnard’s printed work and it was under Legros’s guidance that Besnard established both his printmaking techniques and his predominantly morose style of subject matter.