A portrait and painter of genre subjects, he produced various harem scenes, as well as historical domestic situations. He was the elder brother of the artist Thomas Francis Dicksee, and father of Herbert Dicksee. J. R. Dicksee lived in London, and taught at the City of London School. Among his pupils were Linley Sambourne, the well-known Punch cartoonist, and much later, Arthur Rackham. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1850 through nearly to the end of this long life.
His work is not easy to find on the walls of the galleries, but a portrait subject, My Lady's Page, is in Bath.