A landscape and portrait painter, Maurice Canning Wilks was born in Belfast in 1910. He attended night classes at Belfast School of Art and was elected an associate of the Ulster Academy of Arts in 1935. In Dublin he showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy, mostly landscapes painted in Ulster, Counties Donegal, Kerry and Connemara. His watercolours featured in the inaugural meeting of the Ulster Watercolour Society in 1977. In 1980 he showed thirty-five works at the Oriel Gallery, thirty-four of which were landscapes. After his death in 1984, a retrospective was held at the Oriel.