Myles Birket Foster was a painter, chiefly in watercolour, of landscape and rustic scenes in Surrey and elsewhere. He was born in North Shields and was brought to London at the age of five and given a Quaker upbringing before he became an apprentice engraver to Ebenezer Landells, a well-know wood engraver and pupil of Thomas Berwick. His success is probably due to the vigorous training he received from Landells, who encouraged him to draw and sketch outside.
In 1846 Foster became a freelance illustrator of books, and he also provided illustrations of rural subjects for the Illustrated London News. In 1859 Foster’s first work was exhibited at the Royal Academy. It was a conventional scene of a farmhouse near Arundel, Sussex in which there was a little hint of the flood of charming rustic scenes that were to come from his brush. He was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1860 and Royal Watercolour Society in 1862. From that date he contributed some 400 drawings to its exhibition. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1859 and 1881.
As a painter Foster worked with meticulous finish and with astounding technical skill. At his best he showed a fine sense of composition and command of colour. Under the surface of sentiment and prettiness, lies a hard core of sound and honest craftsmanship.