John Emanuel was born in Bury, Lancashire in 1930. After leaving school he served an apprenticeship in painting and decorating. His introduction to art, in particular painting, was gained through a series of illustrated talks given by a lecturer from the Extra Mural Department of Manchester University. In 1964 his interest in art deepened and he moved to Cornwall where he worked full-time, allowing him to continue painting. It was ten years before he had his first exhibition. During this time John made close artist friends with Dick Gilbert and later John Wells, Denis Mitchell and Alexander Mackenzie. Since the early 1980s John has lived in St. Ives, working in a Porthmeor Studio previously used by the sculptor John Milne. He has exhibited extensively throughout the UK, including Montpelier Studio in London, Candover Gallery in Hampshire, and Penwith Gallery, amongst others.