John Bowes was born in Oldham, the son of a doctor. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School where he received his first general art training. He spent two years studying portraiture under W. H. Wilkinson of Manchester, but he is virtually self-taught and has held no official posts. He was Associate of the Royal Cambrian Academy, 1955; member of Manchester Academy, Liverpool Academy and the Liver Sketching Club. He was also a founder member of the Lancashire Group of Artists. He exhibited at the Liverpool Artists Exhibition at Bluecoat Chambers in 1939 and the Liver Sketching Club. In September 1975, another work by the same artist was found to be framed behind this work; 'Water Lilies' (WAG 8989).