John Young Hunter was the son of Colin Hunter RA (a marine painter and friend of John Singer Sargent) and a painter of conservation pieces. He trained at the RA Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1895. In 1913 he sailed to Montreal and in 1915 from there to New York City. He returned to England for a short time before returning to the USA in 1920, drawn by his interest in Native Americans, sparked (and no doubt misled) by the craze for Buffalo Bill's 'Wild West Show'. He settled in Taos, New Mexico.