John had a deep interest in and understanding of how buildings come to be made. He was an extremely accomplished and capable craftsman who loved working with his hands and was always willing to learn. Perhaps his lifelong fascination with how a discreet structure is put together for a purpose came from his seafaring Hull family; he loved ships and how they were constructed. From the time he and his wife bought a timber-framed, thatched cottage in Linton, he set about working to renovate it, using the same materials and methods, acquiring know-how from villagers and craftsmen. He would talk knowledgeably with anyone, including his children, about the buildings he saw around him, and about how they were made, usually from local materials. It was only natural that he would so often make houses, barns and other structures, the subjects of his drawing, regarding them both as elements of a composition and as fascinating things in their own right and to draw them with a direct understanding of how they were made and who had made them.