Born into a family of artists known as the 'Barkers of Bath', Thomas Jones Barker studied under Horace Vernet in Paris. He exhibited at the Paris Salon and was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for a painting of the death of Louis XIV. Back in England in 1845, Barker set up in London as a painter of portraits and battle scenes. The Napoleonic, Crimean and Franco-Prussian Wars all featured in his work. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy until the late 1870s.