The most famous sporting artist in the world was Liverpool's son, George Stubbs. Although William Huggins did paint landscapes and portraits, his great love was animal painting and he followed in the master's footsteps. He spent many hours at the Zoological Gardens studying and drawing different animals, followed Wombwell's Menagerie (a travelling animal circus) around parts of England and kept a house full of pets.
A leading member of the Liverpool School of painters, William Huggins began his career as a student in the life classes of the Liverpool Academy. He was elected a full member of the Academy in 1850, the same year that the London Pre-Raphaelites first exhibited there. It was the influence of Millais, Holman Hunt, Rossetti and Madox Brown of painting in transparent glazes over a white ground which caused Marillier to write of his technique:
When size permitted he selected a smooth white millboard on which, after making a careful outline in pencil, he proceded to glaze very strongly and richly with transparent colours, using the mill-board below as a light showing through the thin colour. The opaque lights were carefully placed exactly where they were needed, great care being taken not to muddy the colour. This painting is framed in its original frame.