Emigrated to the United States (to Philadelphia) from his native England in 1850, still in his teens. During the early years of the Civil War Antrobus was a commissioned lieutenant in the Delhi Southrons but by December of 1862 he had opened a gallery in Chicago with sculptor Leonard Volk (1828-1995), known for his statues of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Antrobus was the first artist to paint a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant in 1863. He worked in Washington D.C. and later, Iowa (1870), finally settling in Detroit in 1875. He contributed articles regularly to the Detroit Free Press and wrote poetry. Antrobus died in Detroit on October 18, 1907.
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