Robert Austin was an artist, illustrator and engraver. He was born in Leicester in 1885. He studied printmaking at the Royal College of Art under Frank Short, receiving a scholarship to study engraving in Italy.
The etching revival, which developed around the end of the 18th century, saw a rise in this highly skilled technique of printing. The revival continued into the 20th century and Austin was one of the artists who produced etchings during the 1920s and 30s. He used copper plates, creating very fine detail in a style resembling the Pre-Raphaelites.
During the Second World War Austin worked for the War Artists Advisory Committee, recording the work of women in the RAF and the nursing services during the war.
After the war he went to teach at the Royal College of Art as Professor of Engraving. Between 1956 and 1961 Austin assisted with the design of banknotes for the Bank of England. He designed the ten shillings and one pound notes issued in the early 1960s.
He died in Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk in 1973.