John Bethune Abbott was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1851. His father Sir John Abbott was the third Prime Minister ofCanada (1891-92).
J.B. Abbott studied law at McGill University.
He started painting actively around 1900, primarily landscapes, using both oil and watercolour mediums. He visited England and Continental Europe around the turn of the century.
Abbott was the curator and secretary at the Art Association of Montreal from 1900 to 1919. He exhibited at the RCAfrom 1902-10, and the AAM from 1901-19.