Born in the East End of London at Bow, William Larkins trained at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art alongside Graham Sutherland and Paul Drury. He completed 30 etched plates in his first two years at Goldsmiths’, was elected a member of the Print Society in 1922 and Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1925. However, the Wall Street crash of October 1929 decimated the etching market and by late 1930 Larkins had abandoned printmaking to pursue a career in advertising design. Over the next 40 years, until his retirement in 1970, he forged a career as a highly successful commercial artist, never again returning to the etchings of his youth.