BIOGRAPHY: Born in Carlisle in Northern England, the son of James Bough, a shoemaker, and Lucy Walker, a cook. In his working class family, Bough was raised with keen interest and appreciation of the arts.
He was self-taught and strongly influenced by the work of Turner. As a young man he worked as a theatre scenery painter in Manchester and in Glasgow.
Following Turner's example, Bough became a skillful painter of seaports and landscapes and his work was greately admired by Robert Louis Stevenson and his family.
Bough's health began to fail in 1877 and in January 1878 he suffered a stroke. Died later same year of prostate cancer at his home, Jordan Bank Villa, in Morningside. He is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh and R. L. Stevenson wrote his glowing obituary. Scottish National Gallery in Edinburg has several of his painting paintings on view in the Scottish section.