Born in Hackney, East London, Lawrence Gowing studied at the Euston Road School. Initially recognized as a portrait and landscape painter, he also rose to prominence as an art educator, writer, and eventually, curator and museum trustee. He began teaching in 1948, first at King's College, University of Durham then at Chelsea School of Art, University of Leeds and finally serving as Principal of the Slade. He also authored a number of art books and catalogues and organized several major exhibitions.
Lord Robbins, who wrote the Robbins Report which led to the establishment of the University of Stirling, was Chancellor from 1967-1978. This portrait can be seen in the Courtroom Building.