Edward Scrope Shrapnel was born in England in 1847. He emigrated to Canada with his father, they settled in Orillia, Ontario.
In 1876 he taught art at the Ontario Ladies College in Whitby.
During the 1880's he relocated to Victoria, British Columbia. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy during this time as well.
Much of Shrapnel's early subject matter consisted of watercolour landscapes of the Muskoka region, often depicting the wildlife and native people. He also explored still life painting, and experimented with oils.
He died in 1920.