William Huggins was a Liverpool artist who was a prominent member of the Liverpool School and who used vivid colours and Pre-Raphaelite glazes in his depictions of farmyard and exotic animals which had been inspired by his youthful visits to Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie, an animal circus, and the Liverpool Zoological Gardens. He was a member of the Liverpool Academy of Arts and was born and worked in Liverpool.
He received his first instruction in drawing at the Liverpool Mechanics' Institution and won a prize for his painting <i>Adam's Vision of the Death of Abel</i> and successfully entered work to be shown at the Liverpool Academy of Arts at fifteen years old. He drew from life using the classes at the Academy of Arts or by sketching the animals in Liverpool's zoo and travelled further afield to see exotic animals at the unusual Wombwell’s Travelling Menagerie. Thus his animal work was admired and compared to Stubbs.
Huggins first exhibited <i>Androcles and the Lion</i> at the Royal Academy and made successful entries from 1846 until he was in his seventies. He became a full member of the Liverpool Academy in 1850, but resigned in 1856.
In 1861 Huggins moved to Chester where he lived with his brother, Samuel, until 1865. His brother, Samuel was a notable architectural writer and it was this influence that inspired him to employ his pink and purple-toned glazes from exotic animals to depictions of Chester Cathedral. In 1876 Huggins moved to Betws-y-Coed, one of the most favourite Victorian landscape painters' villages. Huggins eventually returned from Wales and settled and died in the Cheshire village of Christleton.