Collins's father, William Collins, was a drawing master, painter and member of the Royal Academy. He was elected an associate member of the RA in 1814 and became a full member in 1820. Wilkie Collins wrote a biography of his father in 1848.
A number of paintings by William Collins have been auctioned in recent years, including Scene from the Caves of Ulysses at Sorrento; an 1822 oil sketch of The Landing of George IV at Leith; and Children on the Shore.
In 1849 Wilkie and his brother Charles showed pictures in the summer exhibition. Wilkie’s picture was entitled The Smuggler’s Refuge. Charles’s was called The Empty Purse. The brothers were listed in the catalogue as living at 38 Blandford Square, Regent’s Park.