Inglis Sheldon-Williams was born in Hampshire, England and came to Canada in 1887 at age seventeen. Two years later, his mother and sisters joined him, and together they homesteaded at Cannington Manor, Saskatchewan. The next several years saw Sheldon-Williams travel back and forth from Canada to Europe: he began art studies in England and France in 1891, returned to Canada in 1894, and then headed back to England in 1896 to study at the Slade School of Art in London.
From 1899 to 1904, Sheldon-Williams travelled around South Africa, India, and Europe, before settling in Gloucestershire, England, with his new wife. Throughout this time, he was creating paintings and watercolour illustrations for London periodicals and was exhibiting his work across Europe, including at London’s Royal Academy and the Paris Salon.
By the time he returned to Saskatchewan in 1913, Sheldon-Williams was well-trained in his art. He lived and worked in Regina for the next five years, painting some of his best-known works. Sheldon-Williams received many commissions during this time, including portraits of North-West Territories Premier Sir Frederick Haultain; the Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, the Hon. A.E. Forget; and the Premier of Saskatchewan, the Hon. Walter Scott. He also met local lawyer and art collector Norman MacKenzie, who was a support for Sheldon-Williams during this time. In 1916, he created the School of Art at Regina College and taught some of its first classes.
In 1918, Sheldon-Williams returned to Europe as an official Canadian war artist. Though he wished to return to Canada in 1924, he was unable to find work, so he remained in Europe, living in Italy between 1927 and 1934, and then moving to Hampstead, London, where he died in 1940. During his time in Europe, he continued to exhibit his work in England and Canada.
Sheldon-Williams’ work is represented in the collections of the Africana Museum (Johannesburg, South Africa), the British Museum (London, England), the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), among numerous others.
Inglis Sheldon-Williams died in Tonbridge, England, in 1940.