Marmaduke Matthews was born in Borchester, England in 1837. He studied at Cowley Diocesan in Oxford and continued his education at London University.
In 1860 Matthews immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario. Shortly after he traveled to New York, where he stayed four years from 1865-1869. He also spent two years in British Columbia from 1887-1889, and travelled to Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Matthews was granted a Canadian Pacific Railway Pass in 1887 and made his first excersion to the Rocky Mountains in the company of Lucius O'Brien, F.M. Bell Smith, T. Mower-Martin, and F. Day. He became known as a 'Railway Painter' for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Along with landscapes he also painted portraits.
Matthews was a founding member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1872 and served as Vice-President, President, and Secretary. He was a chartered member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1880.
Matthews died in 1913 in Toronto, Ontario.