Edwin Harris was born in Birmingham, and in 1880 joined Verlat's Academy in Antwerp, where he studied with W.J. Wainwright and Frank Bramley. In 1881, back in Birmingham, he took at studio in Paradise Street, where Walter Langley also had a room, and here the first meeting took place that would later lead to the formation of the Birmingham Art Circle. Harris seems to have visited Newlyn in 1881, a year before Walter Langley had settled there, but Harris did not actually settle there himself until 1883. He was a popular member of the group, joining in the amateur theatricals and the annual cricket match, and receiving the sympathy of his fellow artists when his wife died tragically in 1887. He had briefly moved away in 1886, causing Forbes to worry that 'the Newlyn colony is terribly shattered. It is an awful pity there are so few married couples now. We used formerly to meet at the Harrises, Langleys', only to return a few months later, when Forbes could report that 'the old crowd are by degrees coming back to Newlyn' (see C. Fox and F. Greenacre, Artists of the Newlyn School 1880-1900, catalogue for the exhibition at the Newlyn Art Gallery, 1979, pp. 113-116).