Robert Lucius West was the youngest of a dynasty of artists. His father, Francis Robert West (c. 1749-1809), had been an excellent draughtsman, and had succeeded his own father, Robert West (d. 1770) in the mastership of the Dublin Society's School, following the latter's death in 1771. Robert Lucius West was instructed by his father in the Dublin Society's School and obtained medals there is 1795 and 1796. He concentrated his talents predominantly on portraiture in which he showed considerable ability. He was chosen to succeed his father as Master of the Figure School of the Dublin Society in 1809 and was nominated one of the original members of the Royal Hibernian Academy on its foundation in 1823.