Robert Fowler was born in Anstruther, Fife. His family went on to settle in Liverpool, where much of his life’s work was carried out.
Despite early artistic proclivities, his parents ‘being Scottish, found the idea of an artistic son had much in it that was repugnant to them’. Consequently he was sent into commerce, and then to an architect.
The quality of his drawings though, was obvious. His employer persuaded his father that, after all, he should become an artist.
As a result of this, he went to London, to Heatherley’s and the Academy Schools, and the British Museum to continue his drawing.
Unfortunately, Robert was forced to withdraw from the Academy Schools due to health problems. After after a period of rest in Yorkshire, he went on to work as an artist in Liverpool. He displayed his work at the Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions from 1875, and at the RA from the following year.
He also sent pictures abroad, winning particular recognition in Germany. Robert seems to have lead an aesthetic existence from his Liverpool studio.