Yeames was born in Russia in 1835 and lived in Odessa and Dresden before moving to London in 1848.
He studied art under G. Scharf and F. Westmacott in London and in Florence from 1852 to 1858. His historical genre scenes and portraits in oil were exhibited at the Royal Academy, where he later became an Academician and a teacher at the Royal Academy Schools.
Yeames lived in London until his death in 1918 and became a member of the St. John's Wood Clique. His work is represented in several public collections.