Norman Wilkinson was born in Cambridge in 1878. His father J. C. Wilkinson was a musician. Norman's initial training was musical. He was a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School from the age of 8 to 14 but he switched to Portsmouth Art School where his life long interest in the sea and his love of sailing was developed.
Initially he worked as an illustrator and poster artist in London with his work appearing in The Illustrated London News from1898 to 1915.
Similarly to Sir William Russell Flint, in the First World War he served in The R.N.V.R. as a lieutenant. He served again in The Second World War, this time as an Inspector of Camouflage. (similar to Edward Seago )
He painted in both oils and watercolours concentrating mainly on marine subjects and landscapes. His work was exhibited at The Royal Academy and commercially at The Fine Art Society in London. Many of his paintings are to be found at The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.