John Wheatley was a portrait painter, etcher and draughtsman. He was born in 1892 in Abergavenny, Wales. In 1912 he went to study at the Slade School of Art, London under Stanhope Forbes and Walter Sickert.
Between 1914 and 1956 he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, London. He became a member of the New English Art Club, London in 1917.
During the First World War he became an Official War Artist and served in the Artists' Rifles from 1918 to 1920.
After the war Wheatley taught at the Slade School of Art until 1920, when he moved to South Africa. He became the Director of The National Gallery, and Professor at the University of Cape Town. He returned to England in 1937, and became director of Sheffield City Art Galleries until 1947.
During the Second World War Wheatley was commissioned to paint war portraits between 1941 and 1942.
He died in 1955.