Stanfield was born in London, the second son from the second marriage of his painter father Clarkson Frederick Stanfield (1793–1867). He was the pupil of his father and painted the same class of subjects including landscapes and marine scenes. Stanfield is best known for his views of the Rhine Valley, the Moselle, Switzerland and the Italian lakes. Stanfield exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1844 to 1876 and at the British Institution from 1844 to 1867. In 1854 Stanfield married his cousin, Maria Blackburn. In 1878 Stanfield passed away at his sister’s home in Hampstead.