William Logsdail was born in Lincoln where he also trained, studying at Lincoln School of Art under E.R. Taylor. He won the gold medals for oil and watercolour painting at the Royal College of Art competition of 1875-6. Two years later he went to Antwerp, to continue his studies under Verlat at the École des Beaux Arts. He started exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1877 and continued to do so regularly until 1926. His painting, Fish Market at Antwerp, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880, in particular, brought him much acclaim and was purchased by Queen Victoria.
In 1886 he became a member of the New English Art Club. He married Mary Ashman six years later and they moved to Venice where he painted prolifically, working on topographical and architectural scenes. He returned to England in 1902 and, from the following year, began to exclusively paint portraits. His 1907 portrait of his daughter, entitled An Early Victorian and displayed at the Royal Academy, brought him many portrait commissions, for figures such as the Viscount Halifax and Lord Curzon. In 1912 he became a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and, a decade later, he moved to Noke, near Oxford where he resumed painting architectural and topographical scenes and died in 1944. Logsdail’s works are held in many collections including the Tate, the Museum of London, the Birmingham City Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.