Arthur Quartley was born on May 24, 1839 in Paris, Île-de-France, France. His father, Frederick William Quartley, was an English engraver. His mother, Ann (Falkard) Quartley, the daughter of William and Mary (Duncan) Falkard. The family spent seven years in France and then returned to England where Arthur as a young boy was soprano soloist in the royal chapel, Windsor Castle. At the age of 12, Arthur's mother died and Frederick Quartley emigrated and settled at Peekskill, New York. Arthur, in the new environment, became an enthusiastic angler and huntsman but the father continued a rule begun in England that the boy must show him each Saturday evening two carefully finished drawings.