Wyndham Lewis was born on a yacht off the coast of Nova Scotia to an English mother and an American father. He moved to England with his mother in 1888 where he was educated, studying at the Slade School of Fine Art until 1901. He spent most of the 1900s travelling around Europe and studying art in Paris. During this time he was influenced by the Cubist and Futurist movements. From 1908 he mainly resided in London and became a founder-member of the Camden Town Group. By 1912 he had developed his own painting vocabulary, indebted to the Cubist, Futurist and Expressionist movements, and he had exhibited his illustrations to Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens and three oil paintings at the second Post-Impressionist exhibition.
During the years 1913 to 1915 Lewis developed a geometric and semi-abstract style based on machine and architectural forms. This style was termed “Vorticism”, combining the Futurist and Cubist movements, and led to the publication of the magazine Blast which detailed the vorticist manifesto and aesthetic and contained many essays by Lewis. From this period onwards, Lewis became interested in with politics and its implications for art. During the 1920s and 1930s he became better known for his writing than painting, although and his paintings from the 1930s and 1940s constitute some of his best-known work.