Frederick Verner is one of the few leading Canadian painters of the 19th century who was actually born in Canada, at Sheridan, Halton County, Upper Canada in 1836. He grew up in Sandwich (Windsor) views of which are among the earliest scenes he painted.
Verner went to England to study art briefly in 1856. He also served five years in the British military before returning to Canada in 1862.
Like his contemporary, William Armstrong, Frederick was an avid photographer, using the camera to earn a living, as well as to gather images and painting motifs, which he used repeatedly in his works throughout his career.
Frederick was entranced with the art of Paul Kane - who specialized in western and Indian themes. He befriended Kane, who was living in retirement in Toronto, and who encouraged the direction of his work. Like his mentor, Frederick specialized in painting tranquil scenes of people in harmony with nature with special focus on western, Indian and buffalo themes.
In 1862 Verner first became acquainted with Ojibway people. Between 1870 and 1892 - at a time the Canadian west was still wild - Frederick went on several painting expeditions there.
His most important trip was in the summer and fall of 1873, when he visited the Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake area of Ontario, west of Lake Superior. In 1872 he became a founding member of the Ontario Society of Artists.
In 1874 he exhibited his work featuring Ojibway Indians at the Ontario Society of Artists exhibition. Thereafter he exhibited paintings of his restful scenic views of Canada.
In 1880 he moved to England where his exotic Canadian wild west scenes were in great demand. He lived there the rest of his life, but returned to Canada to find new inspiration for his wilderness paintings.
Verner is mostly famous today for his outstanding paintings of buffalo and Indian people. These exotic themes were favourites with buyers in eastern Canada and Europe.
He died in England, in 1928, where he had lived for most of his life.