Ernest Greenwood was born in Kent, England on 12 February 1913. After winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Arts, he trained under William Rothenstein and Gilbert Spencer, also meeting his future wife, Eileen Messenger, with whom he staged joint exhibitions from her house in Redcliffe Road, Chelsea. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Artillery and then the Army Educational Corps, working at the close of the war in the Rehabilitation School in Berlin, where he made a number of works referencing the Holocaust. He later became an art teacher at Chislehurst Technical High School for Girls, where he was commissioned to paint 15 murals on wooden panels, on the theme of Christmas and Easter. He went on to become an inspector of art education in schools, first for London County Council (from 1953 to 1966) then Kent LEA, until his retirement in 1973. He also served as president of the Royal Watercolour Society from 1976 to 1984. Ernest Greenwood died in Kent, England on 17 May 2009.