Robert Reginald Whale was born in Altarnum, Cornwall County, England in 1805. He was mostly self-taught seeking inspiration and direction from the English painters of the time.
Whale, his wife and children emigrated to Western Ontario in Canada in 1852. They settled first in Burford, then in 1864 moved to Brantford, where he set up a family studio. Togther they painted and exhibited at fairs.
He became a member of the newly formed Ontario Society of Artists in 1872, and was elected an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1880.
Whale's work is part of many private and public collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, and The Art Gallery of Hamilton, among others.
He died in 1887.