Donald Hamilton Fraser studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art, London from 1949 to 1952. Completing his studies, he gained a French government scholarship to study in Paris, where he lived and worked for two years (1953–54). In 1957, Fraser became Visiting Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London, where he taught until 1983.
Fraser had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the UK, Europe, the United States and Japan, his first being held in 1953 at Gimpel Fils, London. He continued to exhibit there throughout the sixties and sixties and at Paul Rosenberg, New York throughout the sixties and seventies. Among his other early one-man shows were exhibitions at Galerie Craven, Paris (1957) and at Gimpel-Hanover Gallery, Zurich (1967). Fraser showed extensively at the Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames between 1977 and 1994, and at Gallery 10, London and the CCA Gallery, London, from the 1980s onwards. Much of his later work was commission-based for corporate collections throughout Europe.
His work has also been included in many national and international group exhibitions, including British Romantic Painting in the 20th Century (1953), Six British Painters, held in Chicago, Buffalo and Ottawa (1957–8), British Art Today, held at the Dallas Museum of Art and touring to Santa Barbara and San Francisco (1963) and 25 Years of British Painting, held at the Royal Academy (1977). Further group exhibitions include Ten British Painters, Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1980), British Landscape Painting, Hong Kong (1995) and Royal Academicians in Dubrovnik, organised by the British Council in 1997.
Donald Hamilton Fraser was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1970 and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1983. He was elected Royal Academician in 1985 (ARA 1975). He was a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission from 1986 to 2000, Honorary Curator of the Royal Academy from 1992 to 2000 and a Trustee of the Royal Academy from 1994 to 2000. He was also Vice-President of the Royal Overseas League and the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution.