Thomas Walmsley was born in Dublin, the son of an English army officer in the 18th Dragoons. Having quarelled with his family he went to London where he studied under Columba, the principal scene painter to the Opera House. He returned to Ireland and was employed as a scene painter at the Crow Street Theatre on its reopening by Richard Daly in 1788. He later left Ireland for London where he continued to earn his living as a scene painter. Although he spent most of his life in England he peridiodically returned to Ireland in search of picturesque material. He published a series of aquatint views of Killarney, Co. Kerry, and from 1795 onwards and gouaches of Irish scenery are common.