David John Obituary, Death – We mourn the death of former staff member David John, a renowned artist, designer, and teacher, on August 26, 2023. David John, from Port au Prince, Haiti, made significant contributions to art and education. Starting with his 1969 appointment, which quickly became a full-time position in 1972, Mr. John left an unmistakable influence at Shiplake College. He motivated many students and completed many projects with his enthusiasm for painting.
His set designs for The Kitchen, Antigone, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and Los Conquistadores, which he wrote and created, were among the College’s artistic achievements. He also helped start and grow the art department, which introduced woodcarving to pottery. David John’s nearly 600 stone, wood, bronze, and fiberglass commissions showed his influence beyond the College.
He decorated many UK cathedrals, including Winchester and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedrals and Harare Cathedral, Zimbabwe, and English College, Rome. Only schooling matched his love of art. Mr. John’s ability to stimulate Shiplake College students’ creativity was contagious. He instilled a passion for the arts in his students beyond giving them techniques.
His former student and friend Chris Payne (OV 76W) said, “I held David in such high esteem in my life, for he encouraged me no end in all I did especially in art, design, and photography”. Chris became a Lighting Documentary Cameraman and Video Producer before retiring in 2016. Despite his many accomplishments, Mr. John had to resign since his developing sculptural profession and the students’ needs required his full attention.