Wright Barker specialized in animal painting, but also produced human portraits and genre pieces in detailed, almost Pre-Raphaelite style. His animal paintings are characterful and bold. The source of Barker's artistic training is not known. He lived in Bradford until 1885, then moved to Edwinstone near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. In 1893 he was living in nearby Ollerton. In 1901 he moved to Hampstead, then in 1915 to Harrogate, where he died in 1941. Towards the end of his life he became a picture dealer.
Barker frequently worked on large scale, using canvases as big as 50 x 70 inches. His hunting scenes tend to be of local packs, particularly the Rufford. During his days in Nottinghamshire he painted a number of impressive portraits of horses.