Born on 15 December 1734 near Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, he studied under Christopher Steele in Kendal 1755-7 before setting up his own practice as a portrait painter in Kendal and Lancaster.
In 1762 he came to London where he exhibited at the FS 1763-9 and SA 1770-2. He visited Paris in 1764 and stayed in Italy 1773-5. On his return he entered the most successful period of his portraiture. He returned in 1796 to Kendal, having become somewhat unstable, and died there on 15 November 1802.