The son of David Bates, one of the leading artists of the Birmingham School of Artists, this artist used his Christian name as his surname. Like his father, Noel specialised in rugged English landscapes, mostly in and around his native Birmingham, and also the occasional hunting scene. He exhibited forty-five paintings at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists between 1892 and 1919, as well as at the Royal Academy, the Manchester City Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and elsewhere in the provinces.