John Townsend was born in 1930 in Nottingham. His father was Art Director at Thos Formans & Sons and from an early age John Townsend was thus in contact with many top artists. His thoughts and aspirations were very much influenced by this association.
Townsend studied art at Nottingham College of Art, where he was taught by Arthur Spooner, whose Modern British style of painting has become very popular. He also came into contact with other renowned artists, including Sir William Russell-Flint, Vernon Ward, Sir Gerald Kelly and Sir James Gunn, who all had a profound influence on his work.
Townsend paints primarily in oils; his favourite subjects being children and attractive young ladies in idyllic environments. He possesses an excellent ability to depict the period atmosphere, reaching a standard which is rarely seen in works by contemporary artists.
His paintings have been commissioned by many celebrities and members of the aristocracy. In 1970 he was commissioned to paint a portrait of HM The Queen, which is now hanging in Nottingham Council Chambers.