Tom Phillips was born in South London and studied at St Catherine’s College, Oxford and later at Camberwell College of Arts, where the painter Frank Auerbach was then teaching. Phillips was elected a Royal Academician in 1989. His observations, reading and reflection are as wide as the imagery he derives from them. He is meticulous in his art and his research, analysing and delving into a subject in the most rigorous way, yet he has an abiding concern for chance procedures which enrich and vitalise his work. He uses music and literature to create new forms visually, as well as composing music and film making (he collaborated with Peter Greenaway in a production of Dante’s Inferno). He uses collage techniques, in addition to painting, drawing and printmaking. As an avid collector he has a particular interest in African art. As a portrait painter Phillips requires lengthy sittings; the painting of the portrait of Charles Saumarez-Smith was documented on film by British television Channel 4 in 2004.