A painter, illustrator and medical practitioner who was born in Bristol. He was self-taught as an artist, though he was helped and encouraged by the wildlife artist Robert Gillmor. Coombs studied at Clifton College and Cambridge University and was a Bachelor of Civil Law.
While in general practice in Truro for 40 years, Coombs was heavily involved in ornithological research. He was a co-founder of the Society of Wildlife Artists. His work is held by the Peter Scott Gallery, and the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
John Franklin Coombs died in Truro.
The Crows - a study of the corvids of Europe by Franklin Coombs, pub. Batsford, London (1978)
The Nature of Cornwall - the wildlife and ecology of the county by Rennie Montague Bere, Marjorie Blamey, Franklin Coombs, Cornwall Naturalists Trust, pub. Barracuda Books, Buckingham (1982)