Tom Phillips James Mackay, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, b. 1927. Judge and Lord Chancellor 1998 © Tom Phillips. All rights reserved. DACS, London 2022.


Born 25/05/1937
Died 28/11/2022
Nationality English
Birth place Greater London

Born in London in 1937, Tom Phillips studied at St Catherine’s College in Oxford and at Camberwell School of Art. Since 1975 he had a number of one-man exhibitions in Britain and abroad. One of the most prominent contemporary British portrait painters, Phillips also wrote and composed. In 1982, he published a translated and illustrated version of Dante’s Inferno, and his opera Irma was first performed in 1973. One of his best-known publications is A Humument; a Victorian novel of which each page has been turned into an artwork. It is not just the finished work of art, but also the creative process itself that interested Phillips. This is reflected not only in his individual paintings, but even more so in his detailed documentation of each work’s development.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


A term lifted from the French word for ‘unstick’, it is most commonly applied to artworks where an original image is cut, torn, or removed from its original content. The phrase generally refers to the work of French Nouveau Réalists, (New Realists) who ripped old posters from walls and mounted them onto canvas.