British painter, sculptor, and printmaker, born in London. After working as a carpenter and cabinet-maker, 1944–6, and serving with the RAF, 1946–9, he studied at St Martin's School of Art, 1949–52, and at the Royal College of Art, 1952–5. He won the Rome Prize in 1955 and spent three years in Italy and Spain, then taught at St Martin's, 1958–63 (he has also been guest lecturer at various universities in Britain and abroad). In the 1960s Tilson was associated with Pop art, his most characteristic works being brightly coloured wooden reliefs that included words or lettering among the pictorial symbols (9 Elements, 1963, Scottish NG of Modern Art, Edinburgh). An inventive graphic artist, he has worked in various printmaking techniques, including etching, screenprinting, and woodcut.
M. Compton and M. Livingstone, Tilson (1994)