A self-taught artist, Arthur Wardle was born in London and had his first work, a study of cattle by the Thames, shown at the Royal Academy at the age of seventeen. Thenceforth he was a prolific painter, showing over 100 works at the Royal Academy before 1936, as well as exhibiting numerous works at the Society of British Artists and the New Watercolour Society. As well as painting in oils and watercolours, he also made use of pastels and was elected to the Pastel Society in 1911. He became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours eleven years later and he had his first solo exhibition at the Fine Art Society in 1935.
Wardle was best known for his paintings of domestic and wild animals. His painting entitled Panthers Resting, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1891, was the first of many paintings he completed of wild or exotic animals. He also painted mythological or literary scenes in which exotic animals regularly featured. Of his paintings of domestic animals, those works which feature dogs are some of his most highly regarded, particularly his painting of fox terriers, The Totteridge XI.