John Lessore was born in London in 1939 and grew up amid a family of practising artists including his mother, the painter Helen Lessore. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art under William Coldstream (1957-61), then travelled in Italy on an Abbey Minor scholarship. He is a co-founder of the Royal Drawing School (established 2000) and was a trustee of The National Gallery, London (2003-11). He taught at the Royal Academy Schools (1965-99) and co-ran the Life Room at Norwich School of Art with John Wonnacott (1978-86). He lives and works in London, East Anglia and France.