The son of an iron-merchant, Frederick Appleyard was born in Middlesbrough in 1874. He won a scholarship to Scarborough School of Art and studied under the genre and landscape painter Albert Strange. He continued his studies at the National Art Training School in South Kensington, following the recommendation of John Sparkes of the Royal Academy Schools, where he won several medals and prizes including the Turner Gold Medal. In 1903 he was commissioned to paint mural decorations for the Royal Academy Refreshment Room. Following this, he undertook murals for Nottingham General Hospital, St Mark’s Church on North Audley Street and the Church of SS Peter and Paul at Pickering, Yorkshire. He then worked in South Africa from 1910 until 1912 and, during the First World War, at the Woolwich Arsenal in London. He moved to Hampshire following the war where he lived, dedicated to his art, for the next fifty years.
Throughout his lifetime, Appleyard exhibited widely, at the Royal Academy, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts and the Royal West of England Academy, of which he was elected a member in 1926. His work included landscapes, portraits and allegorical compositions in the style of English Impressionism and he is perhaps best known for his scenes depicting affluent families in outdoor settings. His work is represented in collections such as the Tate and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.