He went to art schools in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Canterbury.
From 1971 to 1973 he was bass player with Kilburn & the Highroads.
In 1984 he painted a portrait of Philip Larkin for the National Portrait Gallery, described by Nick Hornby as 'unanswerable'. He is also known for his iconic etching, Black Love Chair, which appeared on the cover of Paul McCartney's album Memory Almost Full.
His work is in the British Council Collection, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Maritime Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
He was elected a Royal Academician in 2004 and in 2012 he received a Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University and that same year he was appointed Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy of Arts.