Painter, muralist and illustrator John Henry Amshewitz was born into a Jewish family in Ramsgate, England in 1882. Amshewitz won an art scholarship to study at the Royal Academy School from 1902-07 and won several important civic commissions including four murals for the Centenary Memorial at the Liverpool City Hall in 1907, and a mural for the Royal Exchange in London in 1910. 

In 1916, after being rejected for military service, he accepted a theatrical role in a production for a six-month tour of South Africa, staying on for six years. He founded the Johannesburg Sketch Club. He died in South Africa in 1942.