Henry Tonks was born in Birmingham in 1862. After being educated at Clifton College he studied medicine at Brighton (1882-85) and London Hospital (1885-1888). After qualifying he became a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Tonks also attended drawing lessons at the London Technical Institute where he met the artist Frederick Brown. When Brown became principal of Slade Art School, he convinced Tonks to give up medicine and become one of its teachers. While at the the Slade he taught Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler, William Roberts and Christopher Nevinson. Although an outstanding teacher, Tonks made an error of judgment when he told Nevinson that he did not have the talent to become an artist. On the outbreak of the First World War, Tonks returned to medicine and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front. As a doctor and artist, he was selected to join the team pioneering plastic surgery. Although still in France, Tonks was appointed principal of the Slade Art School in 1917. In 1918 Tonks and John Singer Sargent were both invited to become official war artists. They both witnessed men being treated for blindness after a mustard gas attack. Whereas Sargent painted Gassed, Tonks produced An Advanced Dressing Station in France. Tonks also completed another painting with a medical theme while on the Western Front, An Underground Casualty Clearing Station (1918). After the war Tonks returned to the Slade Art School. He continued to paint and his most well-known work, Saturday Night in the Vale, was completed just before his retirement in 1930. Henry Tonks died in 1937.