A painter of Impressionism, set designer and teacher, John Thomas Rowell was born at Carlton, Melbourne, to George Rowell, a butcher, and his wife Margaret, née Nightingale. His first school was Faraday Street State School, Carlton.
John Rowell worked at the King's Theatre, Melbourne in 1908, and then apprenticed to a scene-painter. He also studied art at West Melbourne Technical School and at the National Gallery School, in 1912-17. (showing 500 of 2201 characters).