Born on 2 September 1794 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He studied under his uncle, Gilbert Stuart, in Boston before leaving for Europe. He visited Florence and Paris and entered the Royal Academy, London schools in 1817.
He exhibited portraits and small literary and genre subjects (many of which were engraved) at the Royal Academy, London 1818-33 and British Institution, London 1821-31. He was elected Associate Royal Academician, London 1828 and Royal Academician 1832. His last years were plagued by mental illness and he died in a Chelsea asylum on 5 August 1835.