The papers of Robert Medley


collection owner: Robert Medley, ‘The papers of Robert Medley’ 1920–95

Charles Robert Owen Medley CBE, RA, (1905-94), known as Robert Medley, was an English artist who painted in both abstract and figurative styles, and who also worked as theatre designer. Robert Medley studied art at the Slade School of Fine Art and then completed his training by spending two years in Paris from 1926 to 1928. It was during this time that he met his long-term partner, the dancer, choreographer and theatre director, Rupert Doone (1903-66). Medley began to exhibit paintings with the London Group from 1929 and went on to hold his first solo show at the Cooling Galleries in 1931. In the same year he and Doone jointly founded the Group Theatre, for which Medley served as artistic director; designing productions, costumes and painting backdrops himself. During the Second World War, Medley served as an Air Raid Precautions Warden until he was offered a three-month commission by the War Artists' Advisory Committee, to go to France to record troop landings for the British Expeditionary Force. He was later sent to Cairo, Egypt, where he was part of the Camouflage Corps. After the war, he taught at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (later known as Camberwell College of Arts). He later became a visiting lecturer at the Slade School of Art, and then returned there full time in 1958 as Head of the Department of Theatre Design, a post which he held until 1966. In 1982, he was appointed CBE and in 1985 he was elected to the Royal Academy. This collection of photographs show Medley throughout his life and a number of productions of the Group Theatre. These complement a later collection, TGA 953 (also digitised), which contains photographs of Rupert Doone and further photographs of the Group Theatre.

Collection Owner
Robert Medley 1905–1994
Tate Archive
Gift of Robet Medley.
TGA 894

36 objects in this collection

Personal photographs of Robert Medley
This series comprises photographs of Robert Medley, showing him in his studio and also with family, including Rupert Doone, as well as friends and colleagues, together with further photographs taken during his service in the Middle East during the Second World War.
TGA 894/14

Showing 120 of 23 objects