Born in the Old Lodge Road, Belfast, son of a wrought-iron worker, William Connor's artistic talents were to the fore at the early age of ten. A teacher of Music, Louis Mantell, recognised the merit of his chalk drawings and arranged for him to attend the College of Art. By working as a poster artist with the David Allen printing firm he was able to continue his studies in Dublin and Paris. His forte was the sensitive portraiture of children, mill-workers and shipyard men set in the industrial backdrop of his native city. At first he worked in oil, charcoal and water-colour but the studies became more particularly his own when he confined himself to crayon. "He first draws with greasy crayons and then scrapes away the greater part of the colour with a razor blade in a most ingenious manner and with impressionistic effect - shows us a poor but smiling and not unhappy people".. [Apollo, May 1929].