Born in London, Robert Medley studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art, the Royal Academy and the Slade School of Art in the 1920s. As a student he met Rex Whistler, Stanley Spencer and several Bloomsbury artists. During 1935-1939 he designed sets and costumes for Group Theatre productions of works by his good friend, W. H. Auden and by T. S. Eliot. Medley served in the Middle East during the Second World War and became an Official War Artist. He enjoyed a long career in fine art education, teaching at many London art schools. In 1982 he was awarded a CBE and elected a Royal Academician in 1986. Retrospectives of his work included shows at the Whitechapel Gallery (1963) and at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1984).
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