Wilson was a marine artist who began his career as a landscape painter. He was the son of the famous marine artist John H. (Jock) Wilson.
He refused to paint marine pictures until six years before his father’s death in 1855. He then quickly changed from landscape to marine painting, on which he concentrated for the rest of his life.
It has been suggested that Wilson also painted under the name of J. Mundell, certainly the paintings of both these artist have a remarkable similarity in their style of brushwork.