Michael William Sharp appears to have been born in London. His mother, Elizabeth Sharp, was a daughter of the Drury Lane prompter William Hopkins. Sharp studied painting under Sir William Beechey. By 1813 he was living in Norwich as a lodger of the artist John Crome. He made quite a name for himself in Norwich. He showed 46 paintings, several of them theatrical subjects, at the Royal Academy between the years 1801 and 1836. Sharp’s wife, Arabell (née Menage), was a London actress. He died at Boulogne in 1840.