Sir Charles Bell was born in Calcutta in 1870 and educated in England at Winchester and Oxford. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1891 and was transferred to Kalimpong, Sikkim, in 1901, where he began his lifelong relationship with Tibet. He twice acted as Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet and eventually held that post for ten years before retiring in 1919. He was recalled to duty, however, an in 1920 headed a successful diplomatic mission to Lhasa. He was created a K.C.I.E in 1922. In 1939 he moved to Canada. Portrait of a Dalai Lama was first published in 1946, a year after he died.