Stott was born in Oldham. He studied at Manchester and in Paris, where his work was universally admired. Inspired by Bastien-Lepage and his depiction of peasants in rural France, his pictures made in the 1880s at Grez-sur-Loing (near Fontainebleau) often featured brooding figures in naturalistic landscapes. Stott returned to London and associated with the Glasgow School. In 1888 Stott spent much of the summer and winter in Switzerland and made over thirty pastels of the Alps. He exhibited alongside the Glasgow artists at the 1890 Munich International Exhibition, where their work caused a sensation.