Phillip King


Professor Phillip King CBE, PPRA (m. 1954), was a British sculptor who was born on 1 May 1934 in Tunisia. He came to England in 1945 while doing his national service, and then came up to Christ's College where he read modern and medieval languages between 1954 and 1957. It was at Christ’s where he first started to make sculptures.

He was a leading figure among the group of young British sculptors known as the “New Generation” who came to critical prominence in the mid-1960s and is one of Anthony Caro's best known students, even though the two artists are near contemporaries. King went on to study sculpture at Saint Martin's School of Art from 1957 to 1958 where Anthony Caro was teaching at the time.  He taught at Saint Martin’s for a year before working as an assistant to Henry Moore, gaining crucial experience working on a larger scale.

Both Caro and King were included in the seminal 1966 exhibit, Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in New York representing the British influence on the "New Art".

In 1990, King was made Professor Emeritus of the Royal College and was the President of the Royal Academy of Art from 1999 to 2004. In 2010, he was a recipient of the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. In 2011, his work was represented in the Royal Academy exhibition on Modern British Sculpture which explored British sculpture of the twentieth century.

He has been a trustee at the Tate, professor of sculpture at the Royal College of Art, president of the Royal Academy and was awarded a CBE.

King designed the Darwin sculpture which is now situated outside New Court in Christ’s and which was originally commissioned by Christ’s College to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.

Phillip King died on 27 July 2021, aged 87.