Having settled on his career choice, Edward Robert Hughes attended Heatherleys in London to prepare himself for the chance of auditioning for the Royal Academy School. Hughes became a student at the Royal Academy School in 1868. While Pre-Raphaelitism played an influential part in shaping Hughes work, Aestheticism is also seen in his paintings.
In addition to being an accomplished artist himself, E.R.Hughes was also a studio assistant to the elder artist and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood founding member William Holman Hunt when Hunt suffered from glaucoma. Two of the paintings that Hughes worked on with Hunt were The Light of the World, which is displayed in St Pauls Cathedral, and The Lady of Shalott, which is exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum.