John Sherrin was born in London in 1819 and was the eldest of the six children to John Sherrin, and his wife, Christina Williamson. Sherrin was apprenticed to Samuel Smith, a jeweller, and later worked for the designers, Howell, James & Co, Regent Street, and the goldsmiths, Matthews & Peake, Gerrard Street, London.
John Sherrin studied under the watercolourist, William Henry Hunt. Sherrin mainly worked in watercolour and specialised in still life and bird subjects. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours. He was elected an associate of the Royal Institute in 1866, and a full member in 1879.
Works by Sherrin can be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum London, the Manchester City Art Gallery and elsewhere.