Alma-Tadema was born in Holland in 1836 and after studying art in Antwerp, worked for Professor Louis de Taye, a famous archaeologist, later studying Roman and Pompeiian ruins. Thus his re-creation of antiquity was based on profound knowledge. Finding a ready market amongst the English for his classical scenes, he settled in London in 1870 and became one of the most successful Royal Academicians. He was especially noted for his ability to reproduce the effect of sunlight on marble and the sparkle on water. He died in 1912.