John Minton was born in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire. He studied at St John’s Wood School of Art, before travelling to Paris. At the outbreak of war he registered as a conscientious objector, but later enlisted in the Pioneer Corps. Discharged from the Army in 1943 on the grounds of ill health, Minton resumed painting and took up a teaching post at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts in London. He later taught at Central School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal College in London. He had his first solo exhibition at Roland, Browse and Dalliance in1945 and later moved to the Lefevre Gallery where he exhibited regularly until his death.

Minton enjoyed an early success as a painter in the 1940s. He was a prolific draughtsman and illustrator; his style had strong graphic and lyrical qualities well-suited to illustration; in addition he designed posters and wallpapers, and made brief forays into the world of theatre design. The move towards abstraction appalled Minton who found it facile and self indulgent and led to doubts about his own works. He remarked to a friend "I’ve decided I’m not a painter". Minton committed suicide in January 1957; no longer able to cope with the bouts of despair and unhappiness caused by his alcoholism.

Further reading
Frances Spalding, Dance till the Stars Come Down: A Biography of John Minton, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1991
John Minton: 1917 - 1957 A Selective Retrospective, Oriel 31, Newtown, Powys, 1994 (essays by Frances Spalding and Rigby Graham)