Nicholas Phillips was born in 1956 in Penang, Malaysia, near a rubber plantation in Kedah province managed by his father. He lived there until 1962, before returning to England where he was sent to boarding school, and then on to The Slade School in London, where the artist remembers mostly learning printmaking, and not much else. He was at The Slade from 1974 to 1978 with noteworthy prizes from the Italian Government to study etching at the Instituto Statale d’Arte in Urbino in 1977 and the Graham Roberson Prize which enabled him to visit Egyptin 1978. After a few years painting and making prints Phillips abandoned the fine arts and as of the latter 1980s earned a living as a decorator. He made his way back into the fine arts painting watercolors around 2000 and painted while also active as a decorator. As of 2012 Nicholas Phillips again became fully engaged as a fine artist. His watercolors are dominated by figures, women mostly, generally seen in elegant or luxurious surroundings.