David Bates was born in Cambridge and worked as a porcelain painter at
the Royal Worcester porcelain works in Worcester - where he came to
specialise in painting flowers.
Bates was an 'open-air' rural landscape artist, painting in the Midlands, Lake District, Scotland and Wales, and abroad in Switzerland and Egypt. His work shows the influence of Benjamin Williams Leader and Joseph Thors and is associated in style with the Birmingham School of artists.
Bates exhibited many works at the Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery, Royal Society of British Artists and the New Watercolour Society in London, and at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. His works are currently on display in Liverpool museum, Worcester City Museum, and several other art galleries.
His son, John Noel Bates (fl. 1870-1927), who adopted the professional name John Bates Noel, was also a notable landscape painter.