Born in Dalry, Ayrshire in 1869 George Houston attended Saltcoats Public School before studying at the Glasgow School of Art. After graduating, Houston became an apprentice lithographer, linoleum designer and part time sketch artist for the Glasgow Citizen before becoming a full time painter.
His beautiful and tranquil paintings of the lowlands and West Coast of Scotland were according to the Royal Scottish Academy's eulogy on his death, 'amongst the finest landscapes produced in Scotland'. Contemporary with the Glasgow Boys he developed his own distinctive vision which was 'direct and simple and was interpreted with a technique baffling in its apparent ease'.
Houston had a lifelong passion for fishing, which influenced his choice of painting grounds - Ayrshire, Argyll, and Iona were his favourites with the occasional forays elsewhere in Scotland. His paintings were the subject of critical acclaim during his lifetime and were much sought after by collectors.