John Maltby is one of Britain's most respected and collected artists and has been working in clay for over 50 years. He was born in Lincolnshire in 1936. He studied sculpture at Leicester and at Goldsmith's College, London. He then taught painting for two and a half years before working with David Leach at Bovey Tracey (1962-1964), whose imagination and philosophy made a profound impression. In 1964, he started his own workshop in Devon.
Having trained with Leach in the Anglo-Oriental tradition he realized on reflection that he had little identification and interest with the great ceramic traditions of China, Japan and the East and was more familiar and excited by Western Artists - Picasso, Klee, Moore & Nicholson and the primitive Wallis. His work has gone through several distinct stylistic periods taking him away from functional pots towards the making of more individual sculptural pieces.
He has lectured widely in England, and has been a visiting lecturer at the Bergen Kunsthandverksskole, Norway. In 1987, he was sole judge of the International Ceramic Competition in Auckland, New Zealand, and in 1988 conducted two week seminars ("Creativity - the development of a personal style") in Berne, and Basle, Switzerland. In 1989, he was invited by the Galerie Handwerk, Munich, to give a lecture and open the exhibition "English Ceramics". He has also published articles in Ceramics Review.
He has received a numerous of awards for his work. He is a member of the Craftsmen Potters Association of Great Britain and the British Crafts Centre, and is an advisor to the Leach Archive at the Holbourne of Menstrie Museum in Bath.
John Maltby is widely represented in a number of public collections, including the V&A in London and others in Edinburgh, Aberystwyth, Belfast, Exeter, Leicester, and Faenza in Italy and Hamburg in Germany. He has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and USA.
Of his recent sculptural work, Maltby says "the flexibility of idea and image can be explored more freely. Constraints of function are no longer present and I feel newly liberated from some of the limitations of the ceramic tradition; but I hope that those skills of the 'Leach' tradition (so hard won!) can be assimilated into and contribute to the vitality of the work".
The subject matter of much of John's work is inspired by the English tradition; our landscape and our weather, our myths and legends with figures of kings and queens and family groups appearing most often.
"The figures themselves - mostly queens, kings and angels, seem to represent a pure and ideal world and radiate great dignity….They are imbued with a cautious love of life - This makes (Maltby's) art timeless, deeply human and at the same time comforting."
Rudolf Strasser, Collector