Born in 1810 and educated at Harrow, Grant had intended to make his career in the legal profession but his love of art and fox-hunting became apparent at an early age and he turned to painting professionally.
Self-taught, his equestrian portraits and portraits of aristocrats led to royal patronage, especially from Queen Victoria. Living in Melton Mowbray, he based many of his paintings there, notably The Meet at Melton and The Melton Breakfast. His acclaim was such that he was made President of the Royal Academy and, later, knighted in 1866.
He suffered ill-health for the last years of his life and died in 1878 in Melton Mowbray. As he wished to be buried in Melton, the honour of being buried in St. Paul's was denied to him.