John Minton, painter of figures, townscapes and landscapes in oils and watercolours; a book illustrator; a graphic artist and a theatrical designer. A member of the famous Minton Ceramics family, Minton was born in Great Shelfield, Cambridgeshire. Her studied Art at St John’s Wood School of Art between 1935-38 under P F Millard and Kenneth Martin. Between 1938-39 he traveled to France, where he shared a studio in Paris with painter and writer Michael Ayrton. At the outbreak of war, Minton registered as a conscientious objector which he later withdrew and joined the Pioneer Corps.
In collaboration with Ayrton he designed sets and costumes for John Gielgud’s 1941 production of ‘Macbeth’. From 1943 to 1946 Minton shared a studio with the ‘two Roberts’, Colquhoun and MacBryde, at 77 Bedford Gardens. Also in the same building were Jankel Adler the painter and John Wyndham the writer; between 1946 and 1952 he shared a house with Keith Vaughan.
From 1943-46 Minton taught at Camberwell School of Art; 1946-48 at the Central School and from 1948 until a year before his death in 1957 at the Royal College of Art.
Minton made a number of trips overseas during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, travelling to Corsica, The West Indies, Morocco and Spain, which had a strong effect on his work. He was a central figure, together with Vaughan and John Craxton, in the Neo Romantic movement of the 1940’s. An outstanding draftsman, he produced a prodigious output of paintings, illustrations and drawings, and had a number of one-man shows as well as exhibiting regularly at the RA, RBA and LG, becoming a member in 1949 and an RBA in 1950. He also exhibited in New York from 1948 and his work is represented in many public collections, including the Tate Gallery.
Although outwardly an energetic and charismatic character, he was plagued by depression and melancholy, becoming increasingly more dependent on alcohol before eventually taking his own life in January 1957.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
1945 Lefevre Gallery, London
1945 Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London 1945-49 Lefevre Gallery, London 1949 Lefevre Gallery, London 1950 Lefevre Gallery, London 1951 Lefevre Gallery, London 1954 Lefevre Gallery, London 1956 Lefevre Gallery, London 1958 Memorial exhibition of paintings, drawings and illustrations at Arts Council Gallery, London 1967 Commemorative exhibition, Leicester 1970 Hammet Gallery, London 1974-75 Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield 1979 Morley Gallery, London – Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne – Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1985 Drawings and Illustration, Gillian Jason Gallery, London
Selected Group Exhibitions 1942 Exhibited at Leicester Galleries, London with Michael Ayrton 1946 Four Young British Artists, Arts Council, London 1949 Showed at The Royal Academy, London 1972-73 Decade 40, Arts Council, London
Collections Tate Gallery, London; Brighton Art Gallery; The British Council; English Stage Co.; Leicestershire Education Authority; Victoria & Albert Museum; Oldham Art Gallery; Tel Aviv Museum; Royal College of Art; Rugby Library & Art Gallery
Public commissions 1951 Mural for the Festival of Britain 1957 Mural for the Bank of Brazil, his last work