Harding was born in Deptford in 1797. He started in the art world as an apprentice to Charles Pye. He exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of 13; was elected to the Associate, Old Watercolour Society (AOWS) in 1820 and went on to be a full member in 1820.
Harding worked as a Drawing Master all his life. The pencil drawings were intending for copying and for production of lithographs. A contemporary commented “His pure watercolours tend to show faults of work intend to show faults of work intended for engravers; the effects of contrasts are overplayed”.
John Ruskin, one of Harding’s most famous pupils, called him “After Turner, unquestionably the greatest master of foliage in Europe”. He died in Barnes, Surrey in 1863.