Captain Edwyn Temple was born into an upper-class military family in England. He served in the army for most of his life, but later became a notable artist who displayed his work in New Zealand and in England.
Temple learned to paint as a teenager whilst living with his cousin, the Princess Pandolfina in Italy. He continued paint documentary pictures and landscapes through his military campaigns, including in the Crimea and in India. After returning to England in the 1860s, he emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1879.
From this time on, Temple painted more professionally and travelled around New Zealand painting topographical landscapes and smaller documentary works. Although he occasionally made trips to England, Temple remained in New Zealand until he died.