Ronald Olley was born in 1923, and studied at both the Harrow Art School and the Central School, London. His father served as a soldier throughout the First World War, and Olley joined the army in 1942. He witnessed the bombing of Bath, England, before being stationed at El Alamein in Egypt, and Italy.
As well as landscape and figure painting, Olley has had numerous commissions for portraits, mainly of women and children. As one of the last artists to paint World War II from personal experience, a significant part of his portfolio depicts battlegrounds and war-torn landscapes. These have been painted using significant research and photographs, alongside Olley's own knowledge of the front line.
His work has been shown at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists, as well as in exhibitions at the Medici Gallery and at Duncan Campbell. His pictures have been bought by collectors in Europe, the USA, Australia, Africa and Japan.