Son of the Rev. Joseph Kipling (1805-1862; e.m. 1831), he was educated at Woodhouse Grove School and in 1865 joined the newly formed Bombay School of Art as 'Architectural Sculptor'. From 1875 to 1893 he served as the first Principal of the Mayo School of Art and curator of the Central Museum, Lahore. Himself a skilful artist in various media, he had an exceptional knowledge of oriental art, shown in Beast and Man in India (1891). Against the imperialistic, westernizing trend of his time, he fostered traditional Indian art and architecture and was commissioned by Queen Victoria to design the Durbar Room at Osborne House. In 1865 he married Alice Macdonald and their son was Rudyard Kipling, some of whose books he illustrated. He died at Tisbury, Wilts. on 26 January 1911.
' "Such boasting as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the law"…When Rudyard Kipling, the grandson of two Methodist ministers, wrote those lines in his great poem, "The Recessional", it is related that he sent the poem to his uncle, the Rev. F.W. Macdonald, President of the Conference, and said in the accompanying letter, "You see the Methodist blood will out."
Henry Lunn, Chapters from my Life (1918) pp.256-7