Chadwick was born in London and trained as an architect. During the Second World War he qualified as a pilot, and on demobilisation set up as a textile and furniture designer. His first sculptures were mobiles, (relating to his experience as a pilot), derived from insect forms. He then moved on to make roughly-finished, metal sculptures on thin legs. Chadwick's work is generally based on the human figure and he often depicts figures in pairs. In the early 1950s he made a series of winged figures which were half-man, half-insect. In his later work he often used highly polished metal, including sheet steel.