Thomas Robertson, master mariner and marine painter was born in England and appears to have spent most of his life at sea. By 1853 it is known that Robertson had settled in Melbourne and was working professionally as an artist. He exhibited eight oils with the newly founded Victorian Fine Arts Society to which he had been appointed as a committee member in August of that year. It is recorded that Captain Robertson combined his painting career with that of ship's Captain of the Lady Bird and made regular crossings between Melbourne and Launceston between January 1854 and July 1855. The Hobart Town Courier, in October 1856, hailed him as one of the best marine painters in the Australian colonies.