After studying in Paris under Gerome and at Bushey under Herkomer, Meade arrived in St Ives in 1890. Initially a traditional painter of landscapes, Meade's palette lightened over the years as he painted coastal and harbour subjects. Primarily a landscape artist, he also painted portraits and figures, and at one stage became well-known for his bluebell depictions (his critics nicknaming him "Bluebell Meade").
Meade participated in the opening exhibition at NAG in 1895, displaying a landscape. He then travelled across the west of England painting 'Wessex' subjects in Thomas Hardy's Dorset. Working first from a studio in Back Road, St Ives in 1895, and also from a studio at Lelant, he lived at 2 Bowling Green before moving to 'Godrevy', Trelyon Hill in 1904, where he remained for the rest of his life. From that address, he exhibited on four occasions at the Paris Salon (1905,11,12,13) receiving an Honourable Mention for his painting Une clairiere de campanelles.
At St Ives Show Day in 1911 he exhibited two paintings of Porthminster Beach, Knill Monument, and two portraits in oils.
The year following his death, an Arthur Meade Exhibition, was mounted in St Ives at Lanham's Gallery.