Richard Hamilton was born on February 24, 1922, in London. When still a teenager, he attended evening art classes before he studied painting at the Royal Academy School from 1938 to 1940, earning his living with jobs in the advertising industry. From 1941 to 1945 Hamilton worked as an industrial designer. In 1946 Hamilton resumed his studies of painting at the Royal Academy School, but was expelled in July because he defied his teachers' instructions.
From 1948 to 1951 he continued to study at the Slade School of Art in London, where he mainly concentrated on etching. His study of James Joyce's novel "Ulysses", which he first illustrated in 1948, formed Hamilton's understanding of images.
In 1952 Richard Hamilton founded the "Independet Group" at the "Institute of Contemporary Arts" in London together with Eduardo Paolozzi, Lawrence Alloway and several other architects. This group turned out to be decisive for the development of English Pop Art. At that time he taught at the "Central School of Arts and Crafts" in London and at the "Royal College of Art" from 1957 to 1961.
In 1956 he created his most famous work "Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?", which was initially intended as a poster for the now legendary exhibition "This is tomorrow". This collage is said to be the beginning of English Pop Art.
After a trip to New York in 1963, Richard Hamilton began to combine elements of photography and painting in his pictures. During the 1980s he intensively studied the opportunities provided by digital media and their effect on image perception and fine arts.
In 1992 the Tate Gallery in London showed a retrospective. In 2003 Museum Ludwig in Cologne hosted a work show organized in co-operation with the artist himself, entitled "Introspective". In 1993 Richard Hamilton represented Great Britan at the Venice Biennale.