Ferguson was born in Scotland, but seems to have trained in Holland, where he lived and married. He also travelled in France and Italy. This is typical of his many arrangements of dead game, although he also painted fanciful architectural subjects for overmantels and overdoors. Subjects such as these were admired as craftsmanlike renderings of nature, recalling a good day out hunting. Ferguson is known to have supplied a pair of such pictures specifically for the Duchess of Lauderdale's Private Closet at Ham House in the 1670s, indicating that they were considered particularly suitable as decoration for small, informal spaces.