Robert Cresswell Boak was a landscape/portrait painter and etcher born in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Robert was educated at the Londonderry School of Art and the Royal College of Art and then went off to Paris and Rome. He the turned to teaching art for a short well in Portsmouth and Southsea, Hampshire before making the decision to devote all of his time to his own work.
Boak showed twenty-seven works at the Royal Cambrian Society as well as at the Royal Hibernian Academy and in 1927 he became a member of the Belfast Art Society. He then married Margaret Cooper who was an artist and a writer from Belfast. During his time in Belfast he produced a number of etchings of the province and historic buildings. In 1932, they left Belfast before the Second World War and settled in London where he died in 1949.