John Thomas Whitaker was born in Padiham. He served an apprenticeship to lithography in Burnley,attending evening classes at the Mechanics' Institute. He exhibited as a local artist at Towneley in 1907. He went on to Manchester Municipal School of Art and in January 1913 was appointed art master at Bath City Secondary School and assistant master at the Bath School of Art.
He is represented in the collection by five watercolours. In 2001, his grandson donated a book and folder containing 7 etchings, 2 drawings, 9 watercolours by Whitaker together with 3 photographs, see object entry form 57.