Robert B. Hopkin was the leading painter in mid to late 19th-century Detroit and was recognized during his lifetime. He created over 390 oils and watercolors, including views of the Great Lakes, the local landscape, and views from his travels to Ireland, Scotland, and throughout the U.S. 

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1843 and became a resident marine and landscape painter of Detroit, Michigan. From 1843 to his death on March 21, 1909, he resided almost continuously in Detroit, MI, excluding one year spent in Chicago, 1870. 

Hopkin opened his own studio in 1853, he created ship pictures, seascapes, landscapes, and decorative works He was known for marine subjects and decorated the interiors of chokes, buildings, and passenger steamboats in Detroit, Canada, Denver, and New Orleans, among other cities. His best known works were his interior decorations for the New Orleans Cotton Exchange and the Detroit Opera House.