Stanhope Alexander Forbes was an artist and member of the then influential Newlyn school of painters. Though born in Dublin he studied art at the Lambeth School of Art (now the City & Guilds of London Art School) and also spent some time at the Royal Academy Schools. He then travelled to Paris where he studied under Léon Bonnat. He became interested in plein air painting and in 1881 travelled to Brittany, where he returned a number of times over the next few years.
In 1884 he moved to Newlyn in Cornwall. Here he met and married fellow painter Elizabeth Adela Stanhope Forbes (1859-1912) with whom he founded the 'School of Painting' in Newlyn in 1899.