Charles Walter Simpson was born in Camberly, Surrey in 1885. In 1904 he took some lessons from Lucy Kemp Welsh who was well-known for her paintings of horses. He went to Cornwall the following year and he became involved with the artists colonies in St Ives and Newlyn. During his time there he took lessons from John Noble Barlow and Arnesbury Brown before moving to Paris in 1910 to study at the Académie Julian. When he returned to England he became engaged to fellow artist Ruth Alison and married her in 1913. They initially lived in Newlyn before moving to Lamorna. In 1915 he was awarded a gold medal at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco and in the following year he opened an art school with Ruth in St Ives which they ran until 1924. During this time he also won a silver medal at the Paris Salon in 1923 and a gold medal at the VIII Olympiad in Paris in 1924. He lived with Ruth in London for seven years from 1924 until 1931 when they returned to Cornwall. During the Second World War, they lived in Dorset and moved to Penzance following this. His work toured a number of municipal galleries in the late 1950s but following Ruth’s death in 1964, he never painted again.
Simpson was a painter in oil, watercolour and tempera and his subject matter included wild birds, cattle, equestrian scenes, farming and hunting scenes and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated several books on country pursuits such as Leicestershire and its Hunts and Animal and Bird Paintings. He exhibited widely including many works at the Royal Academy as well as the Royal Institute and Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. He is now represented in many public collections nationally, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, and abroad, in Christchurch, Dunedin and Perth.