Bone was the son of journalist David Drummond Bone (1841 - 1911) and his wife Elizabeth Millar Crawford (1847 - 1886). He originally trained as an architect, but began printmaking in 1897. He attended evening classes at Glasgow School of Art and was self-taught as an etcher. Bone often chose architectural scenes for his prints and drawings. Bone first visited Italy in 1910, but the site of this church has not yet been identified.