From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913
He made his first studies in the Dublin Society's Schools about 1756, "where," says the "Hibernian Journal," 1800, "his genius was in admiration, and he made drawings, unrivalled probably by any master before or since; yet, after sixteen years' study in Italy, he manifested a declination rather than an ascension of the divine skill." On his return from Italy he commenced practice as a portrait painter in Dublin. In 1773 he was living in Stafford Street and exhibited portraits at the Society of Artists. He afterwards lived in Jervis Street and Britain Street, was an exhibitor at the various exhibitions in Dublin down to 1780, and continued to practise his profession until his death, which took place in Britain Street in February, 1792.
In the Board-room of the Blue-coat School, Dublin, is a picture by him, a Portrait Group of nine figures seated and standing round a table. This picture, painted probably in 1779, represents the various persons concerned in the building of the school, viz.: John Wilson, secretary of the Blue-coat School; J. Tudor, Alderman Trulock, — Warner, Thomas Ivory, architect; Simon Vierpyl (q.v.), sculptor; Benjamin Ball, Alderman Tucker and the painter himself. The picture was presented to the Governors of the school in 1835 by Mr. Ball, son of Benjamin Ball, one of the persons represented. Two pictures by Trotter belong to Mr. Ponsonby, at Kilcooley Abbey, Co. Tipperary, portrait groups, each of two small full-length figures standing in a landscape; signed J. Trotter 1784. They are painted somewhat in the manner of F. Wheatley. A portrait of"Tottenham in his Boots" was sold at an auction at 17 Pembroke Place, in April, 1847, for thirty-one shillings.
Trotter was twice married. His first wife, whom he married in December, 1774, was Mary Anne Hunter (q.v.), daughter of the portrait painter, Robert Hunter, and by her he had two daughters, M. Trotter and Eliza H. Trotter, both of whom were artists and are separately noticed. His second wife, Elizabeth, survived him. Trotter is called by Pasquin "Jonathan"; but his name appears in contemporary notices, as well as in his marriage-licence bond and his will, as "John."