Landscape painter. McCulloch was born in Glasgow, where he studied for a year with John Knox (1778 - 1845). He began by painting ornamental lids on snuff-boxes at Cumnock. In 1825, he moved to Edinburgh to take employment as an illustrator. There he was influenced by Rev. John Thomson (1778 - 1840), an accomplished amateur artist. He returned to Glasgow in 1827, where gained a reputation as a talented painter of landscapes, which included portrayals of the Cadzow Forest by Hamilton. In 1838, he moved back to Edinburgh where he made his home for the remainder of his life.
McCulloch travelled regularly to the Highlands to paint romanticised, often dramatic, landscapes, executed on large canvases which appealed greatly to the Victorian taste. His works include Glencoe (1864), held by Glasgow Art Gallery and Loch Katrine (1866) purchased by the Perth Museum and Art Gallery in 1937.
He was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy (1838).
McCulloch lies buried in Warriston Cemetery (Edinburgh).