Many English-Chinese dictionaries have been compiled since the publication of Robert Morison's A Dictionary of the Chinese Language. Among these dictionaries, George Carter Stent's A Chinese and English Vocabulary in The Pekinese Dialect stands out with a number of unique features. G. C. Stent came to China in the 1860s as a guard for the new British Legation. He translated many works of Chinese literature into English, and published three dictionaries. Unfortunately, at the present very little research about Stent's life and work has been undertaken. There are many questions still to be answered, such as Stent's family and educational background, his motivation for learning Chinese, and his experience studying the language and so on. This paper investigates Stent's life, then looks at the influence of his life experiences on his understanding of Chinese.