Thomas Faed grew up in the lowlands of Scotland. He learned to paint from his brother John Faed and later studied at the Art School Board of Manufactures. His favorite subjects were the people of Scotland. His works are full of sympathy for the hard lives many of poor and unfortunate people faced.
Faed was admitted into the Royal Academy as an Associate in 1861. His realistic style and compassionate subject matter promoted him quickly to a full Academician in 1864. He created over 100 paintings by the end of his career. He retired from the Royal Academy in 1892 due to his increasing blindness.