William Henry Lippincott was born December 6, 1849 in Philadelphia. He began his formal art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
At the young age of twenty-five, Lippincott traveled to Paris where he shared an apartment with American artists Edwin Blashfield, Charles S. Pearce and Milne Ramsey. He began his studies under Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (1833-1922) at the Société de Artistes Français. Lippincott remained in Paris for eight years. He became a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salons along with his American colleagues.
Lippincott returned to the United States in 1882 and established a studio in New York City at 1293 Broadway. He became the professor of painting at the National Academy of Design. Lippincott pursued his career painting portraits, figurative compositions and landscapes. He was a regular contributor to American Exhibitions at the Chicago Institute, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the National Academy. He also exhibited at the 1878 Universal Exposition, Paris.
Lippincott was elected Associate Member of the National Academy in 1884 and received full status in 1896. Lippincott was also a member of the American Watercolor Society, Society of American Etchers and the Century Association.