Cousins was a renowned [mezzotint] [engraver], producing works mainly after Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Lawrence. Born in Exeter he was apprenticed to Samuel William Reynolds in 1814, who took him on without the usual payment that was due to masters for taking apprentices due to his precocious talent, having won two medals for his drawing abilities at the age of ten. He set up as an independent printmaker in 1826. Prints made after the most popular paintings of the day were in high demand at the time and these proved to be his most commercially successful works, including works after Edwin Landseer and John Everett Millais. Cousins was elected as a [Royal Academician] in 1855.