b. 1928, UK; lives and works in London, Venice and Cortona, Italy

2001 Elected as a Royal Academician

1952-55 Royal College of Art, London, ARCA First Class

1949-52 St Martin's School of Art, London 

Upon leaving the Royal College of Art in 1955, Joe Tilson was awarded the prestigious Rome Prize, taking him to live in Italy for a year, a country from which he has drawn lifetime of inspiration. He and his wife Josyln, purchased an old farmhouse near Cortona and have since spent nearly six months of every year, making and exhibiting art there.

Whilst a student at the Royal College of Art, Tilson met Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield, Derek Boshier, RB Kitaj and David Hockney, who together founded British Pop Art. However, by 1970, Tilson became increasingly disillusioned with the consumer society that Pop Art had done so much to highlight and increasingly frustrated with the lack of political action that the 1960s in Britain had promised. His move to the countryside, radically changed his subject matter, turning towards cultural history as a source of inspiration.