Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith (1846-1923) was born in London, England. His earliest training was under his artist father. He attended the South Kensington School of Art under Alexander Hamilton until his family emigrated to Montréal, Québec in 1867. Later, he studied in Paris at the Academie Colarossi under Joseph-Paul Blanc, Gustave Courtois and Edmond-Louis Dupain. The artist arrived in London, Ontario in 1881 where he was appointed Art Director of Alma College and, the following year, Drawing Master at Central Public School.
In 1888, he moved to Toronto where he was named principal of the western branch of the Toronto Art School. He continued to serve at Alma College until 1901. Bell-Smith was a founding member of the Society of Canadian Artists, the Ontario Society of Artists and the Western Art League. He was elected an Academician in the Royal Canadian Academy and played important roles in many local and national artistic associations. His work was very popular in his lifetime: he painted portraits, genre and landscape subjects in both oil and watercolour in the impressionistic, picturesque and sublime styles of the last century.