Born in Edinburgh, Peter Taylor was principally an interior decorator and carriage painter. He did, however, paint several portraits during his career. An example of this is a small, but important, portrait of the poet Robert Burns and almost certainly a larger version which did not come to light until 1893. Taylor was interested in industrial developments and in 1788 he introduced the manufacture of painted wax cloth, a form of floor covering. Although this was an extremely successful product after his death, he was only awarded £100 “towards expenses” by the Board of Manufactures. Taylor suffered from tuberculosis and retired to the south of France.