John Butts, who specialized as a landscape painter, was born in Cork. He trained and practised in his native city before moving to Dublin in c.1757, where he worked as a scene-painter at the Crow Street theatre, as well as undertaking landscapes and figure paintings.
Pasquin, author of Memoirs of the Royal Academicians and an Authentic History of the Artists of Ireland (London, 1970), commented that: 'No man was more happy in his choice of nature; his breadth of light and shadow and harmonious colouring are in a high decree fascinating; and the facility with which he painted created wonder.' (cited in W.G. Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists, Dublin and London, 1913, p. 143).