Edward Onslow Ford was born at Islington. His father, who was a City businessman, died when Ford was twelve. His mother, discerning his artistic sensibilities, sent him to study in Antwerp and Munich. He returned to England with a German wife and settled at Blackheath. He first attracted attention with a bust of his wife, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1875. From there on his career flourished and he attracted commissions for monumental work and portraiture. As a late Victorian sculptor, he produced portraits of many of the leading figures of his day. He was noted, too, for the small replicas he published of his statues. He was elected Academician in 1895, and he died six years later at the age of 49 from pneumonia, brought about by heart disease.