Richard Walker was born in Yorkshire, England in 1896. He studied at Huddersfield School of Art (1910-15), Leeds College of Art (1919) and the Royal College of Art, London (1920-23), specialising in mural painting. He also spent four years in India with the 21st Lancers regiment (1915-19).Walker moved to Singapore following his graduation in 1923 to take up the position of Art Master of Government English schools, with the task of preparing students for art papers in the Cambridge Junior and Senior Examinations and to train art teachers. This training provided the beginnings of art education in Singapore and he was highly influential on his students, including renowned watercolourist Lim Cheng Hoe. In 1937 his position was amended to Art Superintendent, Singapore Schools. In the 1930s he also began classes for Malay-speaking art teachers.From 1942-45 Walker was interned in Changi Prison, but while there, was able to hold art classes, conduct lectures, and paint. He also became the camp sign-writer and provided lettering for the graves of prisoners who died. After the end of the war, Walker continued to encourage local art education and was awarded an OBE for his contribution to the field. Following his retirement in 1950, he returned to England, settling in Yorkshire, where he continued to paint and exhibit locally.