J.B. Vallely was born 1941 in Armagh. He was brought up to appreciate Irish culture, particularly sport and music, something which would greatly influence his artistry. He studied at the Belfast College of Art under Tom Carr and then at the Edinburgh Art College. The artist gained notability from an early age, selling his first painting at the age of 17. He also had eight of his works purchased for the Irish display at the 1963 World Fair in New York and the Irish Times deemed him “one of the more exciting Irish painters under the age of thirty.”
Valley’s subject matters often depict rural Irish themes, including its traditions, music, sport, mythology, history and culture, with a strong focus on the Irish people themselves. He has produced a vast number of pieces over his career, exhibiting regularly, and a large retrospective was held of his work in Armagh (2000).