Edward Atkinson Hornel was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria Australia, on 17 July 1864 of Scottish parents, and he was brought up and lived practically all his life in Scotland after his family moved back to Kirkcudbright in 1866. He studied for three years at the art school at Edinburgh, and for two years at Antwerp.
Hornel met George Henry and became one of the Glasgow Boys and collaborated with Henry collaborated upon The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe, a procession of druidic priests bringing in the sacred mistletoe and gold.
Hornel was bold and freely employing texture effects produced by loading and scraping, roughening, smoothing, and staining.
In 1893–94 the two artists spent a year and a half in Japan, where Hornel the subject of some of his finest works. Colour texture and the ability to be bold are some of the aspects which make his work so engaging.