Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born as Laurens Tadema in Dronrijp, The Netherlands on 8 January 1836. The painter Alma-Tadema studied art at the Academy of Antwerp, Belgium before moving to England in 1869. Alma-Tadema joined the Royal Academy in 1879, and was knighted in 1899.

Alma-Tadema's paintings are typical for the style of the Victorian era. His work shows in fine detail reconstructions of ancient Rome, its more prosperous citizens, and also idealized settings of other ancient civilizations. His painting style is realistic, with great attention to fine details, perspective, and lighting. Alma-Tadema was also a designer of musical instruments.

When the popularity of the Victorian era waned, so did Alma-Tadema's fame. Paintings that were once sold for thousands of pounds became virtually worthless in a matter of years. John Ruskin declared him "the worst painter of the 19th century." Only with the publication of his biography in 1973, Tadema's work regained attention. However, his vision of the ancient world may have played a role by its influence on movies such as Ben Hur (1926), Cleopatra (1934), and The Ten Commandments (1956).

Alma-Tadema painted well over 400 works. Some of his more famous works are:

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema died in 1912.