Biography: The son of Indian cival servant Henry Thoby Prinsep and the great beauty, Sara Monckton, Prinsep spent most of his young life at Little Holland House in Kensignton, a center of artistic circles, featuring among others George Frederic Watts (who came to live there semi-permanently beginning in 1852). Knowing from early on that he wished to become an artist, he received tutelage from Watts. In 1857 Dante Gabriel Rossetti invited him to take part in the decoration of the Union debating hall in Oxford.
He also studied in Paris at the atelier of Marc-Charles Gabriel Gleyre from 1869-1860, an experienced which was fictionally chronicled in George DeMaurier’s popular novel Trilby (1894). Returning to Britain he would finally settle at a home designed by Philip Webb in Holland Park. In 1884 Prinsep married Florence Leyland, the daughter of the great Pre-Raphaelite patron Frederick Richard Leyland (best known for his commission of James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room, now installed at the Smithsonian Museum’s Freer Gallery in Washington D.C.). As a painter, Prinsep never attained the highest rank, however his talent is clearly present in the work which survives today.