He was born in London on January 28, 1828, and studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1841 for five years. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. He then traveled to Munich, Rome, Florence and Naples, where he married and worked for several years, producing paintings of Italian life. One painting from this period entitled The Last Evening of the Carnival was exhibited at St. Petersburg in 1859. He returned to London in 1864, and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1866; it was at this time that he began to work on historical subjects, especially of the Napoleonic Wars. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, British Institution and at other galleries. While he was attracted to costume pieces such as An incident in the early life of Louis XIV and During the wanderings of Charles Edward Stuart', he also included some contemporary military scenes including his 1901 RA painting South Africa, 1901 - The Dawn of Peace.