Born in England in the 1850s, Laurence Wilson studied in England before emigrating to New Zealand, settling in Auckland by 1877. He moved to Dunedin in the early 1880s where he shared a studio with G Nerli and taught privately. A prolific landscape painter of both oils and watercolours, he is best known for his watercolours. He exhibited with the Canterbury Society of Arts from 1882 and with the Otago Art Society from 1884. He is said to have been extravagant with money and depended on legacies from his family who were wealthy and connected with the shipping firm Ellerman Wilson. In 1904 Wilson moved to Melbourne where he worked on a commissioned painting of the city, then returned to England via India and Africa. His work is represented in major New Zealand galleries and the Turnbull and Hocken libraries. He died in 1912.