Robert Clatworthy was born in Bridgwater, Somerset and studied at the West of England Academy, Chelsea School of Art and Slade School of Fine Art. Clatworthy's early works involved expressionistic portrayal of bulls and horses; later he moved further towards more figurative work.
He was represented by the Hanover Gallery, London throughout the 1950s, and the Waddington Galleries throughout the 1960s. One man shows include Austin Desmond Fine Art and Basil Jacobs. Elected Royal Academician in 1973 at the age of 45. Both the Tate Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum hold smaller pieces of his work. Major public commissions include 'Horseman and Eagle' which can be seen at Charing Cross Hospital, London.
Clatworthy spent the last three decades of his life living in Carmarthenshire where, from the 1990s, due to a skin condition, he concentrated on painting and drawing rather than sculpture.
A monograph of the artist's work was published in 2012.