Herring spent the first eighteen years of his life in Newgate Street, London, where he developed his twin interests in horses and drawing. In 1814, he moved to Doncaster where he was able to see the Duke of Hamilton's William win the St. Leger. He began to earn his living painting coach signs and portraits of horses for inn parlours and, as his talent was recognised, he found himself painting hunters and racehorses for the gentry. In 1830, he moved to Newcastle where he probably received lessons from Abraham Cooper (1787-1868). He left for London three years later and was rescued from his debts by W.T. Copeland who commissioned some paintings and also some designs used for Copeland Spode bone china. In 1845, Herring was appointed Animal Painter to H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent and this was followed by a commission from Queen Victoria, who was to remain a patron for the rest of his life. Financially secure, Herring spent the last twelve years of his life in comfort and ease at Meopham Park near Tonbridge, broadening his subject matter, painting farmyard scenes and narrative pictures.