Edward Wadsworth was born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. He was sent to Germany to study engineering, but later studied at Bradford School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Before World War I he was attracted by the ideals of Vorticism, an avant-garde group whose aim was to reflect the mechanical and technological advances that were rapidly affecting the face of twentieth century society - as a result, much of their work looks consciously abstract and mechanistic. During World War II, Wadsworth served with the Navy and was one of the first artists to adapt military inventions such as 'dazzle-camouflage' to the formal patterns of his art. His work of this period concentrated on taking unpicturesque subject matter and transforming it into an image of inherent strength and energy. After the war he concentrated largely on wood engraving and drawing. He became increasingly drawn to nautical subjects, and his later work has a typically surreal quality, often displaying odd assortments of objects thrown together with no obvious connection, and yet drawn with a meticulous, precision-cut clarity.