The artist was born in Preston, Lancashire (3 January 1855 GRO), the son of John Aspinwall, a newspaper reporter, and his wife Jane, nee Clemmey.  Aspinwall moved to Lancaster in the early 1870s, where he did most of his painting and latterly died (26 February 1921, age 63, GRO). [See note under miscellaneous related to his dates.] The 1871 Census lists Reginald Aspinwall as an apprentice at the School of Art (4 Hill Place, Christchurch, Preston).

 A portrait of the artist by J Cross is owned by Lancaster City Museum, and a reproduction can be viewed at His titles include Mountain Mists, Home with the Evening Tide (1886) and Arnside. Known date of a connection to West Cornwall is a Newlyn title in 1886.

The artist died of arterio-sclerosis, with lung involvement, in the Lancaster Lunatic Asylum.