The work of Robinson displays the influence of Burne-Jones and of Puvis de Chavannes. He was an illustrator, decorator and designer who became a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1918 and an associate of the Royal Academy in 1921. Examples of his work can be seen at the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
The present drawing is probably an illustration to Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird. Maeterlinck's Oiseau Bleu, which has been described as a 'transcendental pantomime' or 'philosophical Peter Pan', was written in 1908 and published in English the following year. The publication was an immediate success and was re-issued in 1911 with illustrations by Cayley Robinson.
A number of illustrations by Robinson for The Blue Bird exist; two are in the Victoria & Albert Museum, others are in the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and private collections. For further information see exh. cat. The Last Romantics (ed. J. Christian), London, 1989, p. 154, nos. 233 and 235.