The National Academy of Design, founded in 1825, was known as a bastion for formal art training and was organized to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition. Applicants for membership to the academy schools were required to submit to the school committee a shaded drawing from a plaster cast of some portion of the human figure. The entrance fee was ten dollars. By submitting a drawing to the committee of a full-length statue made in the Antique school, approval meant students were admitted to both the Antique and Life schools.
Lloyd attended both schools simultaneously from 1873 to 1875 where he studied under an esteemed faculty. Lemuel Wilmarth was a noted instructor there, with many visiting artists adding to the overall learning experience. Lloyd would later duplicate a painting of John Bell originally painted by Thomas Waterman Wood, a visiting instructor to the academy. There was a point, however, when the academy fell onto financial difficulties, and Wilmarth, one of Lloyd’s favorite instructors, later met with NAD students in his private studio to organize the Art Students League (ASL). These events led to a schism of artists and instructors, allowing the ASL to draw from the academy’s fame and members.