Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, Nottinghamshire in 1802 but spent most of his boyhood in Nottingham. His father was working at that time as an artist and his mother was a teacher. In 1815 they moved to France, initially to Calais where Bonington senior established himself in the lace trade. Young Bonington showed a natural aptitude for drawing, which may have been encouraged with lace design initially in mind. In 1817 he became a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He toured frequently, making sketches as he went. His landscape work in watercolour won immediate recognition. In 1822 he exhibited at the Paris Salon. He visited Italy in 1826 and in the same year had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy London.
Ill health brought him back to London from the Continent, but treatment failed and he died on 23 September 1828, aged only twenty-five. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
From the guide to the Sketch book of Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828), painter, 1810, 1810, (The University of Nottingham)