Hodgkin was born in London. He studied at Camberwell School of Art, London and at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, where he subsequently taught. Hodgkin's paintings may look abstract but are always based on specific events, usually an encounter between people. They are painterly evocations of a remembered moment rather than a literal representation. He began painting on board in the 1970s and on a large scale in the late 1980s. Hodgkin won the Turner Prize in 1985 and was knighted in 1992.