Kidd was born in 1808, perhaps in Edinburgh. Nothing is known of his parentage or education, but he became a pupil of the Reverend John Thomson of Duddingston. He was a founder Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1826 and was elected a full Academician in 1829. In 1830 he was commissioned by John James Audubon to paint copies of one hundred of Audubon's drawings of birds, but his dilatoriness caused Audubon to terminate this undertaking in December 1833. Kidd practiced as a landscape painter in Edinburgh until about 1835, when he sailed to Jamaica, remaining there on and off until 1843 (he visited New York in 1837 and traveled to London between 1839 and 1840). His views of Jamaica were engraved between 1838 and 1840. He had resigned from the Royal Scottish Academy in 1838 and, after his return to Britain in 1843, he settled in Greenwich as a drawing master and lived there until his death in May 1889.
[Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 139.]
Winters, Mary Tyler. The Oil Paintings of the Audubon Family and Related Artists. Princeton, forthcoming.
Reynolds, Gary A. John James Audubon and His Sons. Exh. cat. Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, New York, 1982:43-47.
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 139.