Gillian Ayres is widely acknowledged as one of Britain's foremost abstract painters. Born in 1930, Ayres studied at Camberwell College of Arts, London, between 1945 and 1950. Ayres's first solo exhibition was held in 1956, and her work has featured in many key group shows since, including the Whitechapel Gallery's seminal 'British Painting in the Sixties' in 1965. In 2017 Ayres had a major retrospective of her work at the National Museum of Wales and her debut showcasing work since 1979 at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. She was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and was awarded a CBE for services to the arts in 2011.