John Maltby originally trained as a sculptor but turned to pottery. At first he worked with David Leach but in 1966 set up his own pottery at Crediton in Devon where he made domestic ware in the Leach tradition. However by the Bird with fish in each side on wood plinth – John Maltby 1970s he began to develop more sculptural vessels. After a major illness in 1996 when he was no longer able to throw pots he turned to small-scale sculpture. These often combine animal and figure forms and have an ancient, timeless feel to them.
Typical of his sculptural work the piece suggests a sacred, iconic object belonging to some unknown civilization but equally seems to say something about the human condition.