Phillip King studied sculpture at St Martin's School of Art before spending a year working as an assistant to Henry Moore and teaching at St Martin's. A teacher throughout his career, King was Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1980-90) and at the Royal Academy Schools (1990-99). Among other appointments he was a Trustee of the Tate Gallery (1967-69 and 1968-1970) and has been a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery since 1999. King was awarded the CBE in 1974, and was made a Royal Academician and Professor Emeritus at the Royal College of Art in 1990. In 1999 he was elected President of the Royal Academy, a post which he held until 2004. King was made an Honorary Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge in 2002 and received an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University in 2004. He has exhibited extensively in both the UK and oversees and has had several retrospective exhibitions, notably at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and at the Hayward Gallery in London and at Forte Belvedere, in Florence. I

In 2010 was awarded The Life Time Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Centre. In 2012 King was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, the highest honour that the University of Cambridge can bestow