Clyde Hopkins was born in East Sussex in 1946 and moved with his family to Cumbria when he was 11, before studying fine art at Reading in the 1960s where he met his future wife, Marilyn. He exhibited work for over 40 years, produced in studios in Greenwich, Deptford and St. Leonards-on-Sea. During his life, Clyde was awarded the Mark Rothko Memorial Fellowship (USA) in 1990-91 and the 1999 Lorne Award. Widely admired as a generous teacher and mentor, he was a visiting artist in many art schools during the 1970s until becoming Head of Painting, then of Fine Art, at Winchester School of Art in 1982. From 1990 to 2006 he was Head of Painting at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, and retired as emeritus professor at the University of the Arts London. After his death in 2018, some of his works were acquired by the Tate.
Solo exhibitions included the Serpentine Gallery London (1978 and 1986), the Acme Gallery London (1979), the Ikon Birmingham and Rochdale Art Gallery (both 1985), Salisbury Art Centre (1988), Modern Times at the Castlefield Gallery Manchester (1989), Kunstverein Kirchzarten Germany (Kunst Europa 1991), Reg Vardy Arts Foundation Sunderland (1994), Atkinson Gallery Millfield School (1996), Vodka, a Stiff Breeze and Paranoia at the London Institute Gallery (1998), the Francis Graham Dixon Gallery London (1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997) and Galeria Joan Prats New York (1990 and 1994). In 2012, he had two solo exhibitions—Brown Madder at Chelsea Futurespace, London, and Indian Yellow at the Merston Gallery, Chichester.