Anthony W. Colbert was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight on 17 July 1934. His mother's maiden name was Aldridge. He grew up in Littlehampton, Sussex, and studied at Worthing College of Art in 1949, before combining study at Farnham art school with National Service for a year and a half.
In the 1950s he worked for commercial art studios in Brighton and London, interspersed with farm labouring in Sussex. He joined The Observer as a staff artist under editor David Astor in 1959, where he illustrated articles, poems and short stories. His architectural illustrations also appeared in Twentieth Century Magazine. He also drew for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Times Educational Supplement, the New Statesman, the Radio Times, New Society, and the environmental magazine Resurgence. Much of his work used a resist technique using soluble graphic white brushed over with Indian ink, and had the appearance of woodcuts.
In 1964 he married Angela Trollope. They had three children, Amanda, Gemma and Laurence, and later divorced.
In the 1960s and 70s he illustrated books, including editions of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1965) for the Folio Society, Maxim Gorky's The Spy (1968) and George Eliot's Adam Bede (1969) for Heinemann/Heron Books, Tony Parker's Five Women (1965) and People of the Streets (1968), and James Riordan's Tales from Tartary (1978) for Penguin's Kestrel imprint. He wrote and illustrated two picture books, Amanda Has a Surprise (1971) and Amanda Goes Dancing (1972), based on his daughters, Amanda and Gemma.
He went to Vietnam with Save the Children in 1967 to record the fate of displaced children, which led to an acclaimed exhibition in London. He also worked in advertising in the 70s, including on a campaign for Bull's Blood wine, and lectured part-time at art colleges in Camberwell and Brighton in the 70s and 80s. In his later years he moved to Herefordshire, where he painted landscapes and seascapes, and then to Devon, where he died of cancer on 29 June 2007.
- Aidan Chambers, Animal Fair, Book Clun Associates, 1979
- Maurice Ash, New Renaissance: Essays in Search of Wholeness, Green Books, 1987 (illus w/ John Lane)
- Janetta Bowie, Penny Boss, Constable, 1976
- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, The Folio Society, 1970
- Richard Church,, Pauline Clarke et al, My England: Impressions for Young Readers, Heinemann, 1973
- Anthony Colbert, Amanda Has a Surprise, Macmillan, 1971
- -- Amada Goes Dancing, Macmillan, 1972
- -- Landscapes in Watercolour, Price Stern Sloan, 1997
- Eileen H. Colwell, Round About Long Ago: Tales from the English Counties, Longman Young Books, 1972
- -- Tales from the Islands, Kestrel Books, 1975
- -- The Lost Land and Other Stories, Macmillan, 1979
- Joseph Cremona, Si Dice Cosi Book 2, BBC Audio, 1961, (illus. w/ Anthony MacRae)
- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, BBC, 1971
- Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca, Hueber Verlag GmbH, 2008
- George Eliot, Adam Bede, Heron Books, 1969
- Richard Fitter, Fitter's Rural Rides, Observer, 1963
- Rupert Furneaux, Volcanoes, Puffin, 1974
- -- On Buried and Sunken Treasure, Longman Young Books, 1975
- Leon Garfield, The Prisoners of September, Kestrel Books, 1975
- Maxim Gorky, The Spy, Heron Books, 1969
- Neil Grant, History in Pictures: Stagecoaches, Kestrel, 1977
- Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful, Max Reinhardt, 1962
- Edward Hyams, The Changing Face of England, Kestrel, 1974
- D. H. Lawrence, The Lost Girl, Heron Books, 1968
- Robert Leeson, The White Horse, Collins, 1977
- David Lord & Roderick Sharpe, The Magic Fruit: Oxford Instrumental Series 6, Oxford University Press, 1970
- Vadim Netchayev, Petya and his Dog, Kestrel, 1975
- Tony Parker, Five Women, Quality Book Club, 1965
- -- People of the Streets, Bobbs-Merrill, 1968
- John Parry, Mutiny on the Cutty Sark, BBC, 1972
- James Riordan, Tales From Tartary, Kestrel Books, 1979
- Edwin Smith & David Renouf, Approach to Music Book 2, Oxford University Press, 1969
- -- Approach to Music Book 3, Oxford University Press, 1971
- Vian Smith, Moon in the River, Longmans, 1969
- John Lawrence, Obituary: Anthony Colbert, The Guardian, 26 September 2007