John O’Connor was born in Leicester; he studied at Leicester College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, where his tutors included Eric Ravilious and John Nash. He taught at various art schools, becoming Principal of Colchester School of Art. O’Connor wrote and illustrated a number of books, including Canals, Barges and People (Art & Technics, 1950) and A Pattern of People published by Hutchinson in 1959. He experimented with various media combining wood and lino blocks, and his wood engravings are strikingly decorative and much in the tradition of Ravilious. In 1975 he moved to Scotland and taught part-time at Glasgow School of Art.