Born in Tonbridge, Kent, George Mackley was educated at the Judd School, Tonbridge. He trained as a teacher of art at the Goldsmiths' College, London, specializing in painting and etching. In 1935, Mackley learned basic wood engraving technique from Noel Rooke and from that moment embraced wood engraving as the perfect complement to his career as an educator, affording as it did an outlet for his meticulous approach to art within the time constraints imposed by his primary obligations. His masterful wood engravings are among the finest of the mid-twentieth century. His book 'Wood Engraving', published in 1948, remains one of the leading manuals on the engraver's technique.