One of the 'Staithes Group' of artists, Mason was born at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. It was in 1897-1898 - at around the time of the launch of the new-fangled Turbinia - that Mason quit marine engineering to become a full-time artist. Mason married in 1899 and he and wife, Edith, moved to Scarborough, overlooking the North Bay. In 1906 he exhibited a picture in London - Steam Trawlers Entering Scarborough - which he offered for sale for £73, a big sum in the early 1900s, but most of his watercolours at that time cost less than £20. Mason went on to become one of Britain's finest railway poster artists and his posters, from the 1920s and 1930s, often fetch hundreds of pounds when they are auctioned in London. He became a founder member of the Staithes Art Club in 1901.