In 1945, when Jacob Epstein was sixty-five years old, he was described by Current Biography as "probably the best-known contemporary sculptor as well as the most discussed artist since Rodin." He was born on Hester Street, the heart of the lower East Side of New York, the third child in a large family of Russian-Polish Jews. When his family became affluent enough to move uptown, he retained a room on the East Side which he used as a studio. In addition to public schooling, he was able to pick up a pretty good literary education on his own. In 1901, he went to work in a foundry for bronze sculpture and at the same time studied sculptural modelling under a distinguished sculptor, George Grey Barnard. In 1907, Epstein won his first important public recognition in England when Queen Alexandra, consort to King Edward VII, purchased his bronze Head of an Infant.