Biography: Scottish painter and engraver, born at Dumbarton, the son of Peter Strang, builder, and educated at the Dumbarton Academy. Moved to London in 1875 when he was sixteen where he studied art under Alphonse Legros at the Slade School for six years. Strang became assistant master in the etching class, and had great success as an etcher. He was one of the original members of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers.
He worked in many manners, etching, dry point, mezzotint, sand-ground mezzotint, burin engraving, lithography and wood-cutting. A privately produced catalogue of his engraved work contained more than three hundred items.
Some of his best etchings were done as series including illustrations for William
Nicholson's Ballad of Aken Drum, The Pilgrim's Progress, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and Strang's own Allegory of Death and The Plowman's Wife. Some of Rudyard Kipling's stories were also illustrated by him, and his likeness of Kipling was one of his most successful portrait plates. Other etched portraits included those of Ernest Sichel and of J.B. Clark, with whom Strang collaborated in illustrating Baron Munchausen (1895) and Sinbad the Sailor and Ali Baba (1896).
Thomas Hardy, Sir Henry Newbolt and other distinguished men also sat for him. Strang produced a number of paintings, portraits, nude figures in landscapes, and groups of peasant families, which were exhibited at the Royal Academy, The International Society, and several German exhibitions. He painted a decorative series of scenes from the story of Adam and Eve for the library of a Wolverhampton landowner named Hodson, exhibited at the Whitechapel exhibition in 1910.
In 1902 Strang retired from the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, as a protest against the inclusion in its exhibitions of etched or engraved reproductions of pictures. His work was subsequently seen principally in the exhibitions of the Royal Academy, the Society of Twelve and the International Society, to which he was elected in 1905. Strang was also elected an associate engraver of the Royal Academy when that degree was revived in 1906. William Strang was master of the Art Workers Guild in 1907.