Stanley Royle was born in Stalybridge, England in 1888. Like Arthur Lismer and Elizabeth Nutt, he studied at the Sheffield School of Art, began exhibiting professionally in 1911, and had work accepted by the Royal Academy in 1913. Coming to Halifax in 1931 to teach painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art (now NSCAD University), Royle remained with the college until 1934, after which he returned briefly to England.
In 1935 Royle returned to Canada to work at Mount Allison University as Head of the Fine Arts Department and the Owens Art Gallery, where he taught painting and drawing. During his tenure at Mount Allison the university became the first in Canada to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Royle remained in Sackville until 1945 when he once again returned to England, permanently this time. He died at Worksop, England, in 1961.
Royle placed high value on well-developed - even formalistic - composition, technical expertise, and facility. Although his style and palette varied throughout his career, his focus on composition and skillful handling of paint did not. He was a disciple of anti-modernist, realist trends, an interest that he shared with an early student at Mount Allison - Alex Colville - who credits him with being a strong influence on his career. Besides the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, his paintings can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Stanley Royle's work has been exhibited in England, Canada and the United States. Royle exhibited his first Canadian paintings in London at the Royal Academy in 1933 and during his career he had thirty-nine paintings accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy. His work was also frequently found on exhibition at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, as well as with the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Royle was an associate member of the Royal Society of British Artists and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.