Born in London, Eric Taylor studied at the Royal College of Art. In the 1930s, he taught at the Camberwell and Central Schools of Art. He came to Leeds in 1949 to teach at the Leeds College of Art, and spent the next 23 years there, developing departments, creating new ones, and encouraging innovative teaching in art and design. He was Assistant Director of the Leeds Polytechnic from 1969 until 1971, when he returned to work as a full-time artist. During the Second World War, Taylor served in the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, and was also an official war artist. Many of his war pictures are now housed in the Imperial War Museum, but in 1997 he presented 26 to the University of Leeds. The subjects include the Crossing of the Rhine, aspects of army life, Belsen and other images of devastation and grief.