Robertson was one of the most gifted students of his generation. Born in Dumfries, he moved to Edinburgh at the turn of the twentieth century and befriended the Symbolist painter, John Duncan, who became an important influence on his work. He was also inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. Robertson featured in several group shows from 1912-4, which led to the formation of The Edinburgh Group in 1919. During the War, he was stationed with the Friends Ambulance Unit where he began to paint more landscapes, yet it is his nude figure compositions, which scandalised Edinburgh society, that he is perhaps most associated. In 1923, following the failure of his marriage he moved to Liverpool and by the early 1930s, he was largely forgotten as a painter.