Born on 6th April 1849 in Rome, and given the nickname 'Nino' as a child, John William Waterhouse was the son of two English painters who had moved to Italy to develop their art. The family moved back to England during the late 1850's, and the young John william Waterhouse worked with his father in his studios, where he developed talents in both sculpting and painting.
Some of his earlier works focused on the themes and scenes of his birthplace, Italy. Later on his works reflected the styles and themes of the Pre-raphaelites such as Alma-Tadema and Frederick Leighton. He went on to paint over 200 paintings depicting classical mythology, particularly Roman mythology, and literary subjects such as the poetry of Keats and Tennyson. A theme commonly found in his works is that of the Femme Fatale. Most of the women he painted were beautiful and elegant, and in many paintings, men were their victims!
Unusually in the art world, Waterhouse became popular and financially stable while he was still alive. Some of his works were bought by Australias' prestigious museums, and this gave Waterhouse enough financial stability to marry. So in 1883, Waterhouse married Esther Kenworthy, the daughter of an art schoolmaster and an artist in her own right, and together they rented an apartment in the Primrose Hill Studios, in London. A few years later, and with greater financial means, they purchased a home in St. John's Wood, London.
John William Waterhouse continued to paint until his death on the 10th Febuary 1917, and his grave can be found in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.