Born in Dorking, Surrey, Julian Trevelyan initially read English at Cambridge but failed to complete his degree. He then studied etching with SW Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris in the early 1930s, working alongside Picasso, Miro and Max Ernst, and during this time became member of the Surrealist Group. In 1935, he bought Durham Wharf, beside the River Thames in Hammersmith, London which became his home and studio for the rest of his life and was a source of artistic inspiration to him. From 1950-55 he was a tutor at Chelsea College of Art and then became Tutor of Engraving at the Royal College of Art (1955-63), rising to Head of the Etching Department where he was influential to many younger printmakers, including David Hockney and Norman Ackroyd. His second wife was the painter Mary Fedden.