Tom in overcoat
Tom Phillips c.1970
The Message Digests Itself detail
The Message Digests itself (detail), 1969
Humument cover
A Humument (first edition), 1966
score detail
Four Pieces for John Tilbury (detail), 1965
Golden Section painting
Golden Section painting, 1964
One True Cross collage
One True Cross collage, 1963
  • 1969
  • The first of the lettering paintings, The Message Digests Itself finished, along with Here we Exemplify
  • On the day of the moon landing Phillips completes Irma: The Score, an opera extracted entirely from A Humument
  • Joint prize at John Moores Exhibition
  • Prize at AIA gallery exhibition
  • Brian Eno becomes a neighbour and works as a painting assistant
  • 1968
  • Teaching at Wolverhampton Art College
  • Performs in Cornelius Cardew’s Schooltime Compositions
  • Concrete poem The Singing Mushroom for John Cage is published by Openings Press and the graphic score Ornamentik by the Circle Press
  • 1966
  • Begins work on A Humument
  • Develops Ephemerides lecture which he gives at Winchester College of Art, invited by Brian Eno
  • Exhibits for first time at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
  • Starts teaching at Corsham and is involved in performance of Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning which instigates the formation of the Scratch Orchestra with Phillips as a founder member
  • Writes Music for n Players with graphic score
  • 1965
  • Son Leo is born
  • Completes first major painting A Little Art History
  • Exhibition at AIA gallery London, his first one man show - a sellout
  • Through Noel Forster starts teaching Liberal Studies at Walthamstow Polytechnic where he meets the pianist John Tilbury and participates in improvisation concerts at several polytechnics
  • His first musical composition is Four Pieces for John Tilbury
  • Also in this year a second score, Jigsaw Pieces
  • 1964
  • Graduates from Camberwell School of Art work selected for Young Contemporaries exhibition
  • Daughter Ruth is born
  • Polyptych of David Rudkin is finished
  • Roy Ascott asks Tom Phillips to teach a Liberal Arts course at Ipswich School of Art where he befriends his best student, Brian Eno
  • Is working on Golden Section paintings, small collage works and large pastel drawings
  • 1963
  • Phillips makes his first large pastel drawings, one of which is purchased by Tate in 1965. He continues to make large pastel drawings throughout his career
  • Also in this year a first collage piece One True Cross
  • 1962
  • Leaves Philharmonia Chorus
  • Begins most ambitious painting to date, a polyptych portrait of David Rudkin
  • 1961
  • Marries Jill Purdy
  • Starts full time studies at Camberwell College of Art: emphasis of college is still on drawing from life but classes in abstract exercises by Charles Howard an inspiration. Principal teacher still Frank Auerbach
  • Many further moments of enlightenment in conversation with RB Kitaj, Noel Forster, Roy Ascott and Richard Morphet (a friend and neighbour who worked at the Tate in the prints and drawings dept). He is taught by tutors with academic background and pioneering approach to art education and added to this, an explosion of new form of printmaking, silkscreen
  • 1960
  • Finishes university and returns to London to teach English, Music and Art at Aristotle Road Secondary School in Brixton
  • Signs up for evening life drawing course at Camberwell School of Art under Frank Auerbach