Lieutenant Thomas Yates R.N. passed for a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1782 but it is not clear when he gave up the sea for a career as an artist. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1788 until 1794, his works being rare because of his short working life. He shared a London house with a Miss Jones and in August 1796 they were in dispute about who owned it. After dinner on the afternoon of the 29th. August, Yates took a stroll in the garden and Miss Jones locked him out. As he attempted to climb back in through the kitchen window, a Mr Sellers, who had called in to protect Miss Jones, shot him. At the trial the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter; Sellers was fined one shilling and imprisioned for six months.