John Maltby was a distinguished British ceramicist and worked in clay for over 50 years. Inspired by the work of artists including Picasso, Klee, Moore, Nicholson and the primitive paintings of Alfred Wallis, his work has gone through several distinct stylistic periods, taking him away from functional pots towards the making of more individual sculptural pieces.
John Maltby 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, whose imagination and philosophy made a profound impression on him. In 1964 he started his own workshop in Devon. He lectured widely in England, and was 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 he conducted seminars 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 also published articles in Ceramics Review and received numerous awards for his work. He was a member of the Craftsmen Potters Association of Great Britain and the British Crafts Centre, and an advisor to the Leach Archive at the Holbourne of Menstrie Museum in Bath. He exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and the USA, and his work 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.
In [my sculptural] work, 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. CV