Born near Cullen in Banffshire, Wilson went to London to study at the Royal Academy and then to the Slade School of Fine Art. There he formed a friendship with the portrait painter J. B. Yeats, with whom he formed an informal artistic group called ‘The Brotherhood’. Members included Edwin Ellis, John Nettleship and Sidney Hall, and they were influenced by the work of William Blake. Wilson was an accomplished draughtsman, and was interested in the patterns produced in nature by foliage. His landscapes were often very detailed, but rarely contained figures. Although this gave them a somewhat lonely feeling, they were personal artistic statements and not intended for public consumption. He died aged just forty-one years old.