Born in London, Roberts studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1910 to 1913. He joined the vorticist group in 1914, painting in a machine-orientated style which verged on abstraction. During the First World War, Roberts served as an Official War Artist for the Canadian War Records Office and at that time he began to adopt a more naturalistic approach in his art. In the 1920s Roberts used distinctive 'tubular' forms in his work, influenced by Fernand Léger. Throughout his life Roberts painted portraits and also produced a number of pictures depicting life in London.