Julian Otto Trevelyan, born at Leith Hill near Dorking, the only child of a classical scholar and his Dutch wife and grandson of Sir George Trevelyan, Liberal politician and writer. He was educated at Bedales – where his first prints appeared in the school magazine - and at Trinity College, Cambridge where he met Humphrey Jennings who introduced him to French art and Surrealist ideas.
In 1931 he moved to Paris enrolling in Stanley Hayter’s notable engraving school Atelier 17 working alongside with Picasso, Miró and Max Ernst. Returning to London he exhibited at the Bloomsbury Gallery jointly with Robin Darwin and subsequently with potter Ursula Darwin whom he married in 1937.
In 1935 he purchased Durham Wharf by the Thames at Hammersmith, his home and studio for the rest of his life. He exhibited at the famous International Exhibition of Surrealism at the New Burlington Galleries. During the war he served as a camouflage officer with the Royal Engineers. Travelling widely after 1946 he made his first lithograph Harbour for School Prints but his marriage to Ursula broke down. In
1951 he married the artist Mary Fedden, together they painted murals for the Festival of Britain. A member of the London Group, he taught in the 1950s at the Chelsea School of Art and as Tutor of Engraving at the Royal College of Art, where his students included David Hockney and Kitaj. His autobiography Indigo Days was published in 1957. His work is held at the Tate, Aberdeen City Art Gallery, Brooklyn Museum and MOMA, New York.