John Vincent MA- a very brief biography



John Vincent seems to have done everything about-face.

After a long career in the Royal Navy, specialising in electronics, he left the service in 1984 with a pension and a dream to be a real artist.

Self-taught he set up a studio in the village of Sheepwash in North Devon, England, to experiment in carving locally collected green wood. After a number of exhibitions in his home area was encouraged to take the quantum leap to working with harder and more durable materials indigenous to the Westcountry. A generous quarry owner, at Polyphant in Cornwall, supplied the initial lumps of steatite, which is commonly known as 'soapstone', and he was hooked.

The arts and sculpture in particular had been a lifetime interest slowly becoming an obsession. During his Naval service some time had been spent at evening groups gaining experience in ceramics with the aim of becoming a potter. In Glasgow, whilst standing -by his last ship, in it's final build year, he volunteered to help with underprivileged children and adult evening classes in ceramics.

Travelling around the world visiting exotic countries and meeting interesting people of all nations has enriched his creative spirit and expanded his general pursuits.

Of all the artists and craftsmen that he met on his travels the one to have the most profound influence was Henry Moore, England's most well known and respected modernist sculptor. A meeting at the sculptor's home, in Perry green Hertfordshire, in 1978 brought about a monumental change in ambition. John wanted to be a sculptor!

Membership of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen came in 1987 followed by acceptance of his stone carving at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, in London 1989 and twice at the Royal West of England Academy at Bristol.

Numerous exhibitions of his work, both joint and one-man have been held since and purchases have gone overseas to the USA, Europe, Brunei, Taiwan and China.

In 1991 a quite momentous decision was taken to attend Plymouth University to study Fine Art. Three years were spent at the Exeter faculty in a range of studies including painting, sculpture and printmaking, culminating with a BA (Hon's) degree in Fine Art.

Interest in things oriental was stepped up, in 1993, with a two-month visit to China (a publication is still in hand).

Studying had got it's grip on him and to further the 'academic' side he was accepted for postgraduate degree in 'Sculpture Studies' at Leeds University and the Henry Moore Institute. The course leader was Benedict Read and generously subsidised by the Henry Moore Foundation (Henry Moore's influence enters again).

A full year of intense academic study included excursions to Germany, France and cities in the UK. Conferences, museum visits, many seminars, visiting lectures and tutorials, under the expert guidance of Ben Read and Tony Hughes, formed a delightful period of learning enhanced by truly knowledgeable and helpful tutors and a close knit group of fellow students.

The 'icing on the cake' was the MA degree in 'Sculpture Studies' of which there are only about sixty holders in the world.

Work on a new studio, in Langtree North Devon, began in 1996, with some very necessary courses in IT (computer skills).

The Royal Society of British sculptors awarded John a two-year bursary in 1996.

Although a series of illnesses have slowed him down the past four years have not been without progress.

Awarded a Lifetime Fellowship by the Millennium Commission for his exhibition 'All in the Mind', which was set up to bring awareness of Mental Health issues and the Charities who work to help those in need.

An exhibition of photographs and photo collages 'In China' was shown at the Praxis Gallery in Bideford in 2001..

John was a Trustee and is still a Member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and is a Fellow of the Millennium Awards.

A move was made, to Plymouth, in November 2002. This was mainly to be closer to 'civilisation' and the shops not forgetting the availability, just a short walk away, of the theatre, cinemas, library, university, art galleries and the Hoe.

Webpage was lost  when 'Hostonce' closed down stealing everyone's domains.

Managed to retrieve my domain name and '' was hosted by It is in the redevelopment stage.

The main site is at '' and  all of the original site has been ressurrected.

15 April 2017 has been transferred from to Forth Hosting.

20 June 2017

Retired from after 30 years ; was offerred and accepted Honorary Membership of The Devon of Craftsmen Guild.

Updated Thursday 27 December 2018


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