Murray was born in Aberdeen and studied at the Glasgow School of Art for three years. He served with the ‘White Army’ in Russia from 1918-20, joining a diverse group of counter-revolutionary forces who fought against the Bolsheviks. On his return to Glasgow, Murray won the Prix de Rome for etching and studied at the British School in Rome from 1922-25. He travelled extensively in Europe but came back to Glasgow in 1926 to teach engraving at the School of Art, and later lived in Leeds and Middlesex. Living in poverty for much of his life, Murray’s subjects were drawn from everyday rural life and from his travels in Iceland and Russia. He produced paintings and etchings in a style influenced by Mannerism.