Robert Medley studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London, and later at the Slade School of Fine Art before spending two years in Paris. He taught at a number of art schools, becoming Head of Theatre Design at the Slade and Head of Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art and Design. He was a founder member of the anti-fascist group, the Artists International Association. Although a figurative artist, he experimented with an abstract style in which the sureness of brush strokes gave an energy and vitality to his work.