John Minton found popularity and fame during his lifetime, having illustrated many travel and food journals for the publisher John Lehmann, including A Book of Mediterranean Food and French Country Cooking Elizabeth David, as well as the acclaimed Time was Away – A Notebook in Corsica, by Alan Ross. His work during the war found him critical notoriety among the young British artists known as the Neo-Romantics alongside John Piper and Graham Sutherland. As a result he was well established by the time he was in his mid-twenties, and well into a prosperous teaching career around the execution of this painting in 1948. His life in London was a varied and turbulent one, and few images from his career manage to represent the depth of this turbulence than his portraits.
Minton taught at the Camberwell School of Art and Craft where he formed several, rather unconventional student-teacher relationship with his studentss. Spending evenings with them listening to new music and dancing with his housemates – the artists Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde – or going out on numerous late night sessions at The Colony Rooms and Jazz clubs that filled London’s Soho.
Minton struggled with alcohol addiction and depression and commit suicide at the age of 39.