Ernest Borough Johnson studied at the Slade and Herkomer's at Bushey, and subsequently became Professor of Fine Art at London University's Bedford College and Chelsea Polytechnic respectively. He was a teacher of life painting and drawing at London School of Art and the Byam Shaw School. Married to the artist Esther George, by 1917 he lived at Westbourne Gardens, Hyde Park, London.
They both exhibited in the 1924 Show Day in St Ives, with Johnson showing several fine oils, charcoals and pencil studies. According to the St Ives Times, one was 'a busy scene on the Wharf in the fishing season, with girls packing the fish, and a cart loaded with barrels on its way.' He also showed a portrait of Mr Matsubayashi in Samurai costume, with a bright red background.
By the 1930's he was distinguished as a writer on techniques of drawing.