Lionel Fielding Downes was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England on April 15, 1900. He studied with Amy Phelps and Wilfred Ball in England before immigrating to Winnipeg, Canada in 1912. There, he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Winnipeg (where he was twice awarded bursaries) under the direction of Frank H. Johnston of the Group of Seven (1919-1923) and with Charles Comfort and Hal Foster; at the Federal School of Design in Minneapolis (1918) and the Art Institute of Chicago (1924-1927). He sketched with Nicholas de Grandmaison, travelled by canoe, painting native scenes of the North. He painted with Arthur Lismer, R.C.A. (of the Group of Seven), and F. S. Coburn, R.C.A. He served as War Artist with RAF (1940-45) and later studied at the New York Art Students' League (1951-1953), directed by Louis Bouché, N.A., studied impressionism with L. Lemoyne Fitzgerald, and illustration with Charles Comfort, F.R.C.A. Working in pastels, oil and watercolor, Lionel Downes painted Québec scenes, landscapes, figures, and still life.