Thomas Campbell had little education and was apprenticed to a marble-cutter on Leith Walk, Edinburgh. In 1815 he was sent to the Royal Academy Schools in London by Gilbert Innes, in whose house Campbell had been putting up a chimneypiece. In 1818 he travelled to Rome, again assisted by Innes, and set up a studio. He received numerous commissions for portrait busts from British patrons. In 1830 he returned to London although he retained his studio in Italy. In Edinburgh his most obvious work is the (dismounted) equestrian statue of Lord Hopetoun in St Andrew's Square.