Anton van Wouw was born in 1862, Driebergen, a small village in the central Netherlands. He studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Art, at first with a focus on sketching and drawing, until he moved towards sculpture. At 28 van Wouw, inspired by the Boer farmers who had been dispersed across the sparce terrain of South Africa, decided to move to the then newly developing city of Pretoria.
It was 10 years before his first commission to sculpt a monument to President Kruger, in Church Square, Pretoria. This helped his reputation immensely and he soon took other public commissions.
He had a huge admiration for the Boer people and his time with them never seemed to leave his work. He portrayed the indigenous peoples of the Cape and those who lived the north of the Vaal River. Among these are many small sculptures that are considered to be his finest. They reflect a distinct interest in the human form, with great attention given to facial expression, emotion and composition.