Background: Carroll Beckwith, as he preferred to be known, was born in Hannibal, Missouri on 23 September 1852.
Education: In 1868 aged 16 he studied art at the Chicago Academy of Design under Walter Shirlaw until the great fire of 1871 destroyed eveything (including much of the heart of the city). He then went to New York and studied at the National Academy of Design (of which he afterwards became a member) in New York City under Lemuel Wilmarth and later traveled on to Paris, staying there from November 1873 until 1878.
Achievements: Returning to the United States in 1878, he gradually became a prominent figure in American art. His talents as a draftsman secured him a professorship at the Art Students League of New York, where he taught from 1878 to 1882 and from 1886 to 1887. As an artist, he concentrated mostly on portraits, figure studies, and detailed renderings of historical monuments, but he never lost his interest in decorative design.He married Bertha Hall on 1 June 1887, and his friend John Singer Sargent gave them a Venetian watercolor as a present.
Beckwith received many awards including an Honorable Mention at the Paris Exposition of 1889 and a Gold Medal at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895. He also won an award at the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1899 for what is probably his most celebrated work, his 1886 portrait of William M. Walton. He won a gold medal at the Charleston Exposition in 1902 and exhibited at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 showing his painting “The Nautilus” along with a portrait of his wife. Carroll returned to Paris in 1893 to paint a number of murals and then returned to the United States to paint murals on one of the domes in the Liberal Arts Building at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago later in 1893. He lived in Italy from 1910 to 1914 and painted many en plain air studies of monuments, buildings, and landscapes.