Fripp was born in Bristol, the grandson of the marine painter Nicholas Pocock, and trained with two other local artists, J.B. Pyne and Samuel Jackson, who was in turn influenced by Francis Danby. Fripp himself started his career as a portraitist in the city, and in 1834 he visited Italy with yet another Bristol artist, W.J. Müller. However, in 1837 he began to exhibit at the Old Water-colour Society, and the following year he moved to London. He continued to identify closely with the Old Watercolour Society, being elected an associate in 1841, achieving full membership in 1845.