Francis William Warwick Topham was born in London in 1838. He began studying art at an early age with his father, Francis W. Topham (1808-1877), one of England’s outstanding watercolor artists of the nineteenth century. He then studied at the Royal Academy Schools and at the Atelier Gleyre in Paris. He lived and painted in both Italy and France.
Topham enjoyed working with his father, and both men traveled to Ireland in 1860 to paint. They both visited Italy in 1863, particularly Rome and Capri. This was the first of several visits to Italy for the younger Topham. In 1865 he visited Ravenna with Egron Sellif Lungren (1815-1875) and Frank Dillon (1823-1909). Both Lundgren and Dillon were Orientalist painters, fascinated with North Africa. Topham, however remained devoted to Italy, a country which strongly influenced the course of his life’s work. From this period on, he began painting scenes of Italy, which were to remain his favorite subjects.
Topham began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1863, showing 60 works there over the course of his career. He also showed at the British Institution (4 works), Suffolk Street (4 works), New Watercolour Society (20 works), Grosvenor Gallery (14 works), New Gallery (14 works), Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham (36 works), Beaux Arts Gallery (2 works), Fine Art Society (1 work), Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (8 works), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, (54 works), Manchester City Art Gallery (34 works), Royal Hibernian Academy (3 works), Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Coulours, (77 works), Royal Institute of Oil Painters (130 works), Arthur Tooth and Sons (7 works) and Agnews and Sons Gallery (3 works).
His beautifully detailed genre and historical oils and watercolors were well received, and he was elected to the New Society of Watercolors in 1879 as well as the Royal Institute of Painters in Oils in 1883.
He lived for a time in London and then near Guildford in Surrey. The artist died on May 25th, 1924.