Born about 1812, William Gillard pursued his profession as a painter for some years in Dublin, where he obtained success as a portrait painter, first exhibiting in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1831, and later exhibiting in the RHA between 1841 and 1848 and later again, from 1860 to 1876. During part of this period he was in Dublin, as well as in Liverpool and London. Gillard painted landscapes, game-pieces and portraits for various Irish dignitaries. Among many paintings exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy is “The Happy Cottagers” no. 575, exhibited in 1843, although in that particular case, the records make no mention of a child playing a hurdy-gurdy. The records show that Gillard resided at various Dublin addresses, including 15 D’Olier Street, 2 Beresford Place, 95 Lower Gardiner Street and later at Lower and Middle Abbey Street and Hawthorn Cottage in Dalkey.