Born at Toll Cross, near Glasgow, Scotland, John Williamson was brought to Brooklyn as a child and spent most of his life there. In the late 19th century, he became known for his landscapes of the Hudson River Valley and Connecticut. He traveled the Hudson River to Lake George, painting in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, and into New England, in the Berkshire Mountains, MA, the Green Mountains, VT, the White Mountains, NH, and in Connecticut. Williamson first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1850. The Academy elected him an Associate member in 1861. He also exhibited in Brooklyn, Boston, and Washington, D.C. His subjects, especially the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, and technique ally him with the painters of the Hudson River School. Williamson also painted in other parts of New York, and in New England and Pennsylvania. He died in Glenwood-on-the-Hudson in 1885.