In 1749 Richard Yeo was appointed Assistant Engraver to the Royal Mint, and in 1775 he succeeded John Sigismund Tanner as Chief Engraver.
He had first come into public notice in 1746, when he produced the official medal for the battle of Culloden. In the same year he issued by subscription another Culloden medal, with the reverse the Duke of Cumberland as Hercules trampling upon Discord. His signature was: R. YEO F. or YEO.
He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1760, and was one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy. In 1770 he sent a proof impression of his five guinea piece to their exhibition.
In the 1760s and 1770s he made the dies for the coins of George III. He died whilst still in office as Chief Engraver on the 3rd December, 1779.
The family had lived in London for several generations. His son, Henry, was a goldsmith and painter probably apprenticed to his father before going into business as a medallist.