Born in Greenock in 1803, William Clark lived in the town throughout his career and life. He was apprenticed as a decorative house painter and by the age of twenty seven had set up studio as a professonal marine painter.
He likely met with John Fleming (1794-1845) who worked in Greenock until his death in 1845, and was no doubt encouraged by the success of the landscape and portrait painter.
Clark was fortunate to live during the heyday of Clyde shipbuilding when commissions from owners and masters ensured a steady supply of work, enabling Clark to spend his career in his native town without having to seek patrons elsewhere. He regularly exhibited across Scotland and the popularity of his work led to many lithographic prints of his paintings.