Watendlath is a small settlement and popular beauty spot in the Northern Lake District, close to the town of Keswick. Holmes was educated at Eton and Brasenose College, Oxford. As an artist he was self-taught, learning his technique through studying the Old Masters, as well as the Japanese artists Hiroshige and Hokusai. He was well known for his landscapes and industrial scenes, painting views of towns in his native Lancashire, such as Blackburn and his birthplace, Preston. He was a regular exhibitor at the New English Art Club and the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours, and showed in the Venice Biennale six times between 1912 and 1930.