Artist and teacher Ernest Greenwood was born in Welling, Kent, England in 1913. He studied at Gravesend School of Art (1927-31), winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Arts, where he trained under William Rothenstein and Gilbert Spencer. He also met there his future wife, artist Eileen Messenger, with whom he staged joint exhibitions from her house in Redcliffe Road, Chelsea. After a further scholarship took him to the British School in Rome for a year, he returned to England in 1935 and studied etching and engraving for a further year at the Royal College under Malcolm Osborne and Robert Austin. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Artillery, and then in the Army Educational Corps, working at the close of the war in the Rehabilitation School in Berlin, where he made a major work, Resurrection, referencing the Holocaust (now in Yad Vashem), and also painted the city in ruins. He held his first solo exhibition at Kensington Art Gallery in 1947.

Postwar he became an art teacher at Chislehurst Technical High School for Girls, where he was commissioned to paint 15 murals on wooden panels (later dismantled), on the theme of Christmas and Easter. He went on to become an inspector of art education in schools. He exhibited with the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and he was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1973, serving as its President from 1976 to 1984. He also travelled extensively as a specialist art lecturer with Swan’s Hellenic Voyages. Retrospectives were held at the New Metropole Arts Centre, Folkestone in 1972 and County Hall, Maidstone, Kent in 1997.

Ernest Greenwood died in Maidstone, England in 2009. His work is represented in the Ben Uri Collection, the Central Library, Bromley, Harlow Art Trust: Basildon Arts Trust Collection, and the Royal Watercolour Society in the UK, and in Yad Vashem in Israel.