Anton van Wouw was born in a village near Utrecht in the Netherlands. He studied drawing and modelling at night classes from 1874 to 1889 in Rotterdam, soon discovering that his talent lay more toward modelling and sculpting. In 1890, after he had finished his studies, the young van Wouw left the Netherlands to join his father in South Africa, who had emigrated to the country seven years earlier.
Van Wouw's most defining commission was to produce a monument to President Paul Kruger to be placed in Pretoria. This commission gained him artistic recognition and led to continued success throughout his career. Van Wouw oversaw the entire casting process, spending three years (1896 - 1899) moving between foundries in Italy and the Netherlands. Although the sculptor preferred to use Italian and Netherlandish foundries, he later favoured Vignoli, a local foundry in Pretoria.