Upton was born in Birmingham and studied there at the College of Art before entering the RA Schools. Later on he was to teach painting there at the Royal Academy where he also exhibited in the summer shows from about 1990.
Early on in his career he studied on scholarship at the British School in Rome (1962), and later was to have exhibitions in London and abroad including the Yale Centre for British Art, in New Haven (1987) and the Anthony Ralph Gallery, New York that same year. Locally he exhibited with the NSA and also at the Great Atlantic Map Works, St Just. He worked latterly from the Old Chapel Studio, Mousehole, painting always on a small scale, in both watercolour and oils.
For many years, he struggled with diabetes, and eventually this was to force the amputation of both legs. He died in 2002 in Redruth, still painting from his hospital bed.
1962: Rome Scholarship to Italy
1981: South West Arts Major Award
1987: Two-person exhibition: Rose HILTON and Michael UPTON, NAG (2 solos, being 1 upstairs, 1 downstairs)
1993: Singer and Friedlander Prize (Sunday Times)
Great Atlantic Map Works, St Just
Brittain, Sarah and Cook, Simon (2001) Behind the Canvas, 40 Artists working in West Cornwall;
Cross (2002) Catching the Wave (photo likeness in studio)
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn/Diary of a Gallery