Born in Glasgow, Robert McGown Coventry gave up his early career as a mercantile designer to study at Glasgow School of Art under Robert Greenless. He later studied under William-Adolphe Bougereau and Robert Fleury in Paris before returning to Glasgow where he exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy.
He travelled much abroad, working in Dordrecht and Amsterdam and visiting the Middle East in the 1890s, but his paintings are principally fishing, highland and coastal scenes of the east coast of Scotland.
He was closely associated with artistic life in Glasgow and his watercolours show the influence of the 'blotessque' technique of the Glasgow School.
Elected ARSA (1906) and RSW (1889).