Early in his career La Thangue worked in the studio of Jean Léon Gérome (1824–1904), a Neo-Classical painter and advocate of the academic tradition. Later he studied at the Royal Academy Schools, winning a gold medal in 1879, and afterwards at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. However, on returning to London in 1886 La Thangue became increasingly dissatisfied with the Royal Academy and eventually exhibited with the New English Art Club. He was a follower of Jules Bastien-Lepage and was profoundly influenced by the French Impressionist movement.
Following the First World War, Henry Herbert La Thangue travelled to Liguria, where he had first travelled with his friend and fellow artist Stanhope Forbes. Forbes was one with whom he most closely shared an artistic vision, as well as Edward Stott and the members of the Newlyn School.
During the decade that followed the Great War he painted scenes of orange groves and gardens. In this and his other works of the period he demonstrates his dedication to social realist, en plein air painting by finding the beauty in the rustic and everyday. His obsession with the sun-filled beauty of the Italian landscape with its abundant orange trees was likely sparked by his increasing lament for the decline of English rural life.