John Maltby has been working in clay for over 50 years. He was born in 1936 and today is one of Britain's most respected and collected sculptors. The artist studied sculpture at Leicester and Goldsmith's College, before working with David Leach at Bovey Tracey, whose imagination and philosophy had a profound impression on him. In 1964 John set up his own workshop in Devon.
Having trained with David Leach in the Anglo-Oriental tradition the artist realised 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 Wallis. Maltby's work has gone through several distinct stylistic periods taking him away from functional pots towards the making of more individual sculptural pieces.
Maltby has received numerous awards for his work. He is a member of the Craftsmen Potters Association of Great Britain and the British Crafts Centre and is an adviser to the Leach Archive at the Holbourne Museum in Bath.
The artist's work is widely represented in a number of public collections including the V&A in London and others in Edinburgh, Aberystwyth, Belfast, Exeter, Leicester, Italy and 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 Maltby'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.