William Scott was born in Greenock and grew up in Northern Ireland. He studied at Belfast College of Art and at the Royal College of Art, London, from 1931 to 1935. Scott lived in France from 1937 to 1939, teaching art in Brittany. He later became a senior painting lecturer at Bath Academy of Art and was a frequent visitor to the artistic community of St Ives. Scott is best known for the still lifes he produced from the mid-1940s. He also experimented with abstract painting in the mid-1950s.