John Christian Schetky was born in Edinburgh on August 11 1778 from Hungarian extraction. From an early age, he showed a keen interest in the sea and ships, joining the Frigate Hynde in 1792. On his return from the sea, he studied drawing under Alexander Nasmyth, after which he took up teaching drawing first at Oxford, and later becoming a Junior Professor of civil drawing at the Royal Military College, Great Marlow, and Professor at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth from 1811-1836. His position at Portsmouth provided the opportunity for Royal Patronage becoming Painter in Watercolours to his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, and in 1820, Marine Painter and Oridinary to King George IV.
He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1805-1807 and then not until 1821 which must have a connection with the appointment to Marine Painter to the King, and thereafter, intermittently until his death on 28 January 1874.