A native of The Hague, W.G. Wagner attended the city's drawing academy and thereafter trained himself as a painter by copying old masters at the Mauritshuis. He may also have met Charles Leickert there, who was studying with Andreas Schelfhout at the time. Starting from 1839 Wagner made various study trips to Belgium and Germany, much like many other Romantic painters. His oeuvre is dominated by townscapes and landscapes, most including water features.