Robert Heriot Westwater trained at Edinburgh College of Art. After a period of travel and study in Europe, he returned to Edinburgh and taught at the College of Art for ten years. He later settled in London where he worked as a full-time artist. He occasionally wrote art criticism for the Scotsman. His portraits, amongst which there are several of prominent Scots, reveal his admiration for Degas and Cézanne. He was an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.