Most of Bonington’s short life was spent in France after his father set up a lace manufactory in Calais. Through his acquaintance with Louis Francia in Calais, he consolidated his own outstanding talent for watercolour – a medium he subsequently promoted among the leading young Parisian artists, from Scheffer and Delacroix to Gleyre and Géricault. From 1818 to 1822 Bonington was enrolled at the celebrated atelier of the history painter Baron Gros in Paris. In 1825 Bonington accompanied Delacroix to London, visiting Westminster Hall and the Meyrick collection of mediaeval armour. On returning to Paris, the two artists briefly shared a studio and produced similar works on eastern and mediaeval themes in the so-called troubadour style. Bonington’s intensive exposure to the art of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese (while touring Venice with Delacroix’s friend Baron Rivet in 1826) profoundly influenced his later troubadour historical genre paintings. His brilliant career ended prematurely with his death from consumption (tuberculosis) aged twenty-six. Such was his stature that a memorial exhibition was staged as early as 1834. Today he is widely recognized for his contribution towards the development of plein air (out of doors) landscape painting and as a significant forerunner of Impressionism.