David Gentleman, the son of artist parents, studied at the Royal College of Art from 1950–53. Since then he has worked on his own as watercolourist, wood engraver, illustrator, lithographer and designer. His early commissions ranged widely: engravings for books and press ads, drawings for newspapers and magazines, designs for fabrics and wallpapers, watercolours for Shell, illustrations for New York limited editions and for Penguin and Faber paperbacks.
In 1962 the Post Office issued the first of his hundred postage stamps. In the seventies he made many lithographs, designed and took the photographs for a series of environmental posters for the National Trust, and designed a platform-length mural at Charing Cross tube station.
The eighties and nineties were largely taken up with his most extended work, writing and illustrating David Gentleman’s Britain and five subsequent books about London, the coastline, Paris, India and Italy. Artwork, a book on his designs and illustrations, was published in 2002.
Since then he has made lithographs of Suffolk, painted watercolours of London, Brazil and India, and designed coins for the Royal Mint and placards protesting against the Iraq War. There have been many solo exhibitions of his paintings and lithographs. He was elected a Royal Designer for Industry in 1970.