He was born in London and trained at the Royal Academy School. He came to Polperro, Cornwall with his artist friend Charles Boutwood where they met and married the Pond sisters, Thirza and Sophia. Herbert and Sophia lived on Talland Hill where he had a painting school. He exhibited at the Royal Academy large oil paintings so fashionable with the Victorians but turned more to smaller watercolors after the First World War. He also did book illustrations.