White studied at the St John's Wood School of Art under Leonard Walker and he had his first solo show at the Carfax Gallery in 1921. He was a painter in oils and watercolour and a wood engraver of agricultural subjects, still lifes and figures. His strong sense of design enabled him to become a successful poster designer and book illustrator. Although his subjects were essentially English in character, he did travel widely in Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Ireland. He was elected a member of the London Group in 1916 and in 1921 he was elected to the Society of Wood Engravers. As an illustrator he began working for the Beaumont Press and he produced wood engravings for Herbert Read's Eclogues (1919) and Richard Jeffries's The Story of My Heart (1923). In 1938 he was appointed art editor of the Penguin Modern Classics series. When reviewing a London Group exhibition in 1920 Athenaeum suggested that: 'Mr Ethelbert White is another fantasist whose work rather suggests a strong sympathy with that of Mr Paul Nash.' He was a prolific exhibitor with the London Group throughout the inter-war years and his work was often compared with the Nash brothers who were fellow London Group members. A memorial exhibition of his work was staged by the Fine Art Society, London, in 1979. A book about his life and work by Hilary Chapman was published in 2003 by Primrose Hill Press.