Born in London into an artistic and successful family, her grandfather designed the Dorchester Hotel, and her father, a distinguished architect in his own right, practised with Edwin Lutyens, her godfather. She attended Chelsea School of Art from 1946 to 1949 under Robert Medley, Henry Moore and Ceri Richards. Fellow students were Elisabeth Frink, John Berger and Anthony Rossiter. From 1949 to 1952 she studied at the Royal College of Art under Carel Weight and Ruskin Spear and specialising in mural design. While still a student, she undertook three major mural commissions at the Chelsea Pensioners' Rest Hall, the Tote Investors' Board Room and (the largest) for the National Farmers' Union, depicting a history of agriculture. In 1965 she started teaching on the foundation course at the Central St Martin's College of Art and Design where she remained all her life. She served as a visiting lecturer to Aberdeen, Stirling and Surrey Universities, as well as Cambridge College of Art and the Yehudi Menuhin School.